|Fast Break: Bulls bury Celtics||01.08.11 at 10:42 pm ET|
The NBA schedule is sometimes a cruel beast. Take the Celtics and Bulls, put them in a vacuum and the result is usually a fantastic game. But put them on a Saturday night with both teams on the second end of back-to-backs and you get a slow, ugly contest, like the one these two teams played.
The Celtics were able to hang in until the bitter end, mostly thanks to 21 Chicago turnovers, but the combination of Derrick Rose (36 points) and Carlos Boozer (22) was too much to overcome in a 90-79 loss that snapped Boston’s four-game winning streak. (Recap.)
Credit Tom Thibodeau‘s defense, which held the Celtics to 38 percent shooting and kept them out of the paint all night. Not many teams can make the Celtics look as bad as they did Saturday night, but Thibodeau knows them as well as anyone and he has Chicago ranked second (behind the Celtics) in defensive efficiency.
The Celtics return home for a six-game homestand against only two teams with winning records: Utah and Orlando. They are also expected to get Kevin Garnett back, possibly as early as Monday.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Rebounding: In case there was still any confusion about how the Celtics feel about offensive rebounds, Doc Rivers said it as plainly as he could Friday night.
“I don’t care about offensive rebounds,” the coach said. “I care about defensive rebounds.”
In that case, the first half was very discouraging as the Bulls grabbed eight offensive rebounds. It didn’t get any better in the second half as the Celtics got pounded on the boards. They gave up 11 offensive boards and lost the overall battle, 48-27.
Derrick Rose at the free throw line: Derrick Rose established a new career-high in free throw attempts and makes midway through the third quarter. He went on to make 15-of-19 as he wore the Celtics out with the pick-and-roll. The Bulls wound up only being +7 at the line, despite taking 13 more shots (35-22).
Bench production: Or the lack, thereof. Outside of Jermaine O’Neal who had six points and three rebounds, the Celtics reserves combined to shoot 1-for-7 with three rebounds and four assists. Once again, the Celtics offense without Rajon Rondo on the floor was disjointed and out of sync.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Paul Pierce and Ray Allen: The two veterans basically are the Celtics offense right now with Garnett out, so it’s a good thing that they are both playing at a high level. They combined for 40 points, or more than half the Celtics’ total. Along with Rondo, they shot 20-for-43. The rest of the team? A horrific 8-for-31.
Turnovers: Yes, this is the right column. The Bulls turned it over 21 times compared to the Celtics’ eight times. The Celtics recorded 12 steals, which helped, but this was the only thing that kept the Celtics in the game.
Rajon Rondo was decent: Rondo had a solid line with 13 points, five rebounds, five steals and eight assists, but he was also responsible (along with the big men) for Rose’s big night.
|Preview: Bulls at Celtics||12.03.10 at 11:18 am ET|
At 9-7, the Bulls record doesn’t leap off the page, but consider they recently completed a seven-game road trip (known locally as the circus trip) and although they have gone 4-4 in their last eight games, their losses have come against the Spurs, Nuggets, Lakers and Magic.
They’re not there yet though. Carlos Boozer played his first game of the season Wednesday night and had just five points and two rebounds in 22 minutes. Once he gets acclimated, the Bulls will really begin to shape. One problem that has not been fixed yet, however, is their lack of 3-point shooting beyond Kyle Korver.
The Bulls rank 28th in overall makes from behind the arc and are 24th in accuracy, shooting just 33 percent. Luol Deng is shooting an almost-respectable 35 percent, and Derrick Rose is next at 34 percent. That’s actually a marked improvement from the point guard who is under 30 percent for his career.
Despite their troubles from long-range, the Bulls do many things well and they have all the elements to become an elite defensive team. But it’s hard to break through and become a true contender with such an obvious weakness.
BULLS (9-7, 6-4 last 10)
Offensive Rating: 99.0 (14th)
Defensive Rating: 103.8 (9th)
Pace: 93.5 (12th)
Likely Starters: Derrick Rose, Keith Bogans, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah
CELTICS (14-4, 8-2 last 10)
Offensive Rating: 109.2 (9th)
Defensive Rating: 100.8 (2nd)
Pace: 90.7 (23rd)
|Del Negro to coach Clippers||07.07.10 at 6:42 am ET|
Former Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro reached an agreement to become the next coach of the Clippers, according to multiple reports. Del Negro, a native of Springfield, Mass., was fired by the Bulls in May after going 82-82 over two seasons.
|Report: Bulls will send Hinrich, pick to Wizards||06.24.10 at 4:00 pm ET|
According to an ESPN report, the Bulls have agreed to a deal that would send guard Kirk Hinrich and the No. 17 pick to the Wizards in an effort to clear up salary cap space. The deal would not be able to be consummated until July 8, at which time the Wizards would have the salary cap space to afford Hinrich’s $9 million salary. It was not clear what Washington would send to Chicago in return.
|Thibodeau announced as Bulls coach||06.23.10 at 12:36 pm ET|
‘I am very excited to be here and to join the Bulls organization. Chicago is a great city with great fans and a storied history,’ Thibodeau said. ‘I would like to thank Jerry Reinsdorf and [general manager] Gar Forman for presenting me with such a terrific opportunity. We have a talented team with a good nucleus of players, and I am eager to get started.’
Thibodeau served as an assistant coach for the Celtics from 2007-10. He had been drawing interest for head coaching positions since helping lead the C’s to the 2008 championship as an assistant coach. The Celtics repeatedly have credited his emphasis on defense as a key to their success.
‘I am extremely pleased to welcome Tom Thibodeau as our new head coach,’ Forman said. ‘As I went through the process to search for the next head coach of the Chicago Bulls, the longer the process went it became apparent that Tom was a perfect fit for the Bulls. He is a great communicator and teacher of the game, and he fits our organizational philosophy from a defensive standpoint. With his experience and knowledge of the NBA, I am confident he will be a great leader for our team.’
The Celtics will look to replace Thibodeau on the sideline this summer.
|Report: Hornets give Thibodeau more time to decide||06.04.10 at 7:20 am ET|
According to an ESPN report, the New Orleans Hornets decided to give Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau at least one more day to accept their offer to be their head coach. The report says the Hornets offered Thibodeau the position last week, but Thibodeau did not accept by Thursday’s deadline, one day after he interviewed with the Chicago Bulls. Thibodeau also reportedly interviewed with the New Jersey Nets earlier in the week. New Orleans is said to be ready to offer its job to Trail Blazers assistant Monty Williams if Thibodeau does not commit soon.
|Report: Thibodeau in running for Bulls job||05.31.10 at 8:55 am ET|
Reports last week indicated that the Hornets were ready to offer their head coaching job to Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau, and a story by Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo!Sports late Sunday night says the team has begun contract discussions with Thibodeau’s representatives at Creative Artists Agency. However, a story out of Illinois’ Daily Herald Monday morning notes that the Bulls have interest in him as well, and multiple reports say that Thibodeau plans to remain in discussions for the Nets job.
Daily Herald reporter Mike McGraw writes that Thibodeau and former Trail Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks are the favorites in Chicago. But the story indicates that Lakers assistant Brian Shaw (a former Celtic) now is being pushed by LeBron James associate William Wesley, who previously was campaigning for John Calipari. The rumor is that James would be interested in playing the triangle offense made popular by Phil Jackson, and Shaw has spent five seasons alongside Jackson learning the intricacies of the offense.
A side note: Creative Artists Agency, with whom Thibodeau recently signed, also represents James and fellow high-profile free agents Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
The Yahoo!Sports report notes that Thibodeau risks losing out on the Hornets job if he decides to wait on the Bulls and/or Nets. Trail Blazers assistant Monty Williams reportedly is the Hornets’ second choice, with some players, including star guard Chris Paul, said to prefer Williams.
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