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Bulls mystique gone for Celtics? 04.23.09 at 12:40 am ET
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The Boston Celtics pride themselves on having one of the best home crowds in the league. Each game thousands of fans make sure the opposing team takes notice of the 17 banners hanging in the rafters, while memories of Bird, Parish, and McHale are never far from their minds.

But when the Celtics travel to Chicago for Games 3 and 4 of the playoffs against the Bulls, they will be met by a United Center crowd who wants them to acknowledge their own collection of banners. It has been just over ten years since Michael Jordan led the Bulls to six NBA Championships in eight seasons, and their fans are eager to see a first round upset.

So what do the Celtics expect from the Bulls crowd?

‘€œIt’s really hard to answer that question because I know there was a Jordan era in Chicago and then there’s a post-Jordan era. Those are two different eras,’€ said Ray Allen. ‘€œPlaying when he played, it was one atmosphere that was uncomparable. Now people are supportive and there’s a lot of basketball fans in that city, but the mystique when he was there was totally different.’€

Like Allen, Stephon Marbury played against Jordan early in his career. While he agrees that Bulls fans still show their support, there is no replacing Jordan’s presence.

‘€œThey have a really good system as far as how they get the crowd into the game. I think after Michael Jordan, they stayed consistent with exactly what they do. So it’s going to be a nice atmosphere,’€ Marbury said. ‘€œThey try to continue with that same mystique. But he’s not there.’€

Journeyman Mikki Moore has experienced eight different home crowds. Even so, he still ranks the Bulls crowd (one of the few teams he never played for) as one of the best.

‘€œIt’s a pretty good crowd,’€ he said. ‘€œIt’s a lot like here (in Boston). It’s one of the top ten arena crowds because of the traditional Bulls. From Scottie (Pippen) and Jordan, it’s a basketball city so they’re going to come out and support their team regardless.’€

For those who played against the Bulls during their dynasty, the memories will still linger in the building. However the younger members of the Celtics cannot relate as their veteran teammates do.

‘€œIt’s alright. It’s no different than any other NBA team,’€ said Kendrick Perkins. ‘€œYou don’t [notice a mystique]. You really don’t. I’ve never played there in a playoff game but when we go there in the regular season, most people are all about the Celtics.’€

The Celtics and Bulls will face off in Chicago on Thursday at 8pm EST for Game 3 and Sunday at 1pm EST for Game 4.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan,
Game 1 in Overtime 04.18.09 at 3:17 pm ET
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The Celtics and Bulls are headed into overtime tied at 97 apiece.

Final seconds of regulation: Pierce hit a pair of three throws with 37.4 seconds left to put the Celtics up 94-93. Derrick Rose drove the lane and the Celtics were called for goaltending (CHI 95-94, 31.1 seconds). Allen missed his 10th shot of the game, Rondo grabbed the rebound and put it back in (BOS 96-95, 22.1 seconds). Ben Gordon missed, pig pile ensued, Bulls are called for traveling. Call is reversed (12.1 seconds). Rondo called for foul on Rose, made both FTs (CHI 97-96, 9.4 seconds). Pierce pulled up for attempted game-winner, Noah is called for foul. Pierce made one (BOS-CHI 97-97). End of regulation.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls,
Seventh seed watch: Pistons out 04.14.09 at 12:21 am ET
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The Boston Celtics still don’t know who they will face in the first round of the playoffs, but one thing they do know is it will not be the Detroit Pistons. On Monday night the Pistons got locked into the eighth spot with a 91-88 loss to the Chicago Bulls. They will play the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round. So with two days left in the regular season, the battle for the sixth and seventh seeds is still up for grabs between the Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers. The Bulls have a half-game lead over the Sixers heading into Tuesday.

6. Chicago Bulls (41-40)
Wednesday, April 15 vs. Toronto Raptors

7.  Philadelphia 76ers (40-40)
Tuesday, April 14 vs. (2) Boston Celtics
Wednesday, April 15 @ (1) Cleveland Cavaliers

Read More: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers,
First round still up for grabs 04.12.09 at 11:00 pm ET
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The Boston Celtics locked up the second seed in the Eastern Conference on Saturday, but their first round opponent is still uncertain. This weekend the Chicago Bulls rose to the occasion, the Detroit Pistons continued to be mediocre, and the Philadelphia 76ers came up short. With only three days left in the regular season, the sixth, seventh, and eighth seeds are still up for grabs.

6. Philadelphia 76ers (40-40)
The Sixers are slipping on a five-game losing streak. This weekend they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, putting their hold on the sixth spot in jeopardy as they gear up to face the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.

Rest of the season:
Tuesday, April 14 vs. (2) Boston Celtics
Wednesday, April 15 @ (1) Cleveland Cavaliers

7. Chicago Bulls (40-40)
The Bulls enter the final week of the regular season on a four-game winning streak, including Saturday’s victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. They will wrap up the season at home where they are 28-12.

Rest of the season:
Monday, April 13 @ (8) Detroit Pistons
Wednesday, April 15 vs. Toronto Raptors

8. Detroit Pistons (39-41)
Despite beating the New Jersey Nets on Friday, a loss on Saturday to the Indiana Pacers landed the Pistons one game behind the Chicago Bulls in the eighth spot. They are 1-2 this season against both of their upcoming opponents.

Rest of the season:
Monday, April 13 vs. (7) Chicago Bulls
Wednesday, April 15 @ (5) Miami Heat

Read More: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers,
What they said… USC coach Tim Floyd 03.20.09 at 12:46 pm ET
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Tim Floyd coached the Chicago Bulls in the NBA after Michael Jordan left in the late 90s. He has had a more successful and certainly more enjoyable time coaching the USC Trojans. This season his team caught fire at the right time, winning its last five games, including a run to a Pac-10 title that earned them a berth against Boston College tonight in Minneapolis.

Here’s how Floyd summed up his opponent on Thursday night.

Q. Hi, Coach. What do you know about B.C. by now? And what concerns you most about them?

COACH FLOYD:
Well, from the coaching standpoint I think he is the best coach that nobody ever talks about. The job he’s done there with seven NCAA tournaments in 12 years. A young team this year that obviously believes in what they’re doing. Great shot selection, great conviction to what they run offensively. Play with a physicality, terrific offensive rebounding team. And great role definition with their players in terms of knowing what they should do and when they should do it.

And they have a star caliber with Rice. You know, a developmental big guy in Southern who is getting better and better. The 2 guard is outstanding, maybe could have been an All ACC player with a little bit more attention paid to him because he has been terrific the last five games. Just very good basketball team. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston College, Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan, NCAA
Luck of the Irish runs out 03.17.09 at 11:29 pm ET
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The Luck of the Irish had been on the Boston Celtics side on St. Patrick’s Day. On Tuesday night, it ran out in Chicago (RECAP HERE). In spite of this loss, the Celtics have enjoyed success on March 17 over the last 10 years:

2009: Chicago Bulls 127, Boston Celtics 121
Already undermanned, the Celtics lost Leon Powe (knee) in the first half. Paul Pierce tried to keep the Celtics alive with 37 points and seven rebounds, while Rajon Rondo posted 26 points, 10 assists, and five rebounds.  The Celtics, however, could not overcome injuries and foul trouble. They fell 4.5 games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers for first place in the Eastern Conference.

Look ahead: The Celtics will take on the Miami Heat on Wednesday night in Boston.

2008: Boston Celtics 93,  San Antonio Spurs 91
The Celtics overcame a 22-point deficit to top the Spurs and jumpstart their sweep of the Texas Triangle. Sam Cassell stepped up his game in place of Ray Allen (ankle) to contribute 17 points off the bench. Despite a scoreless evening from Kendrick Perkins, the Celtics starters outscored the Spurs starting five 67-39.

Flashback: A day later, the Celtics snapped the Houston Rockets 22-game winning streak.

2007: Boston Celtics 91, San Antonio Spurs 85
In the midst of a dismal season, the Celtics won in San Antonio for the first time in 17 years. And this wasn’t the Big Three version of the Celtics. Paul Pierce (30 points) got help from Delonte West (23 points) and Al Jefferson (20 points) while Rajon Rondo added 14 rebounds. It was just the Celtics 20th win of the season.

Flashback: The Celtics had not won in San Antonio since February 14, 1990.

2006: Orlando Magic 84, Boston Celtics 77
The Celtics blew a fourth quarter lead and gave up 18 points and 13 rebounds to a then-20-year-old Dwight Howard. The Cs went cold in the final 12 minutes, shooting 3-for-23, and no one on the team made more than five field goals. They also had six shots blocked by Darko Milicic.

Flashback: Raef LaFrentz was the Celtics starting center.

2004: Boston Celtics 104, Denver Nuggets 100
Paul Pierce, Chucky Atkins, and Mark Blount combined for 68 points, 27 rebounds, and 16 assists while Walter McCarty added 17 points off the bench. Then-rookie Carmelo Anthony posted 20 points, nine rebounds, and six assists in his Boston debut. But the Celtics got hot from long-range (10-16 3PG) and a jumper from Pierce iced the win with less than 30 seconds to go.

Flashback: John Carroll was the interim head coach.

2000: Boston Celtics 114, Atlanta Hawks 90
Antoine Walker scored 30 points to lead the Celtics to a 24-point victory. Paul Pierce and Vitaly Potapenko scored 16 points apiece. Pierce picked five steals from Dikembe Mutombo and the Hawks.

Flashback: Less than 12,000 people attended this game in Atlanta.

1999: Boston Celtics 118, Los Angeles Clippers 84
The Celtics outshot the Clippers 57% to 37% from the field in their commanding win. Kenny Anderson led the Celtics with 21 points. Then-rookie Paul Pierce scored 12. The Celtics outrebonded the Clippers by 19 boards.

Flashback: Future Celtic Michael Olowokandi posted 17 points and eight rebounds for the Clippers.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Paul Pierce,
Game Preview: Are the Bulls ready? 03.16.09 at 11:59 pm ET
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At this point in the season, every game is critical for the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls. A win on Tuesday in Chicago would inch the Celtics closer to first place in the Eastern Conference. A victory for the Bulls could put them back in the eighth seed. Both teams are hungry for the postseason. The question is, would be Bulls be ready if they made it to the playoffs?

‘€œRight now, no,’€ said Kirk Hinrich. ‘€œWe’ve definitely had our moments, but we need to play much more consistently and bring it every night. At times we’ve taken nights off and it’s kind of hurt us, so we have to make everything count from here on out.’€

The Bulls (30-37) lost their footing in the East when the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Celtics (50-17) on Sunday to reclaim possession of the final spot. After getting blown out by the Orlando Magic last week, the Bulls must face both the Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers in the next five days.

‘€œ[We have to] play defense and be aggressive throughout the whole game,’€ said Derrick Rose. ‘€œ[Those teams are] real consistent in everything they do ‘€“ defense and offense. We’ve just got to stay a little more consistent and play hard.’€

The Celtics have beat the Bulls by an average of 17 points in their first two meetings of the season.  In their first game, the Celtics held the Bulls to less than 30% from the field. In their second game, Rajon Rondo dished 15 of the Celtics’ 40 assists. Both games were lessons for the Bulls to learn from.

‘€œI think every night we have to come in with a certain urgency,’€ said Hinrich. ‘€œConsistently, we just need to start playing better basketball for longer stretches of time and we have to hang on. It’s going to be a tight race. People are jockeying for position and we definitely want to be in there.’€

An eighth seed in the playoffs would mean a match up with a team like the Celtics, Cavaliers, or Magic, who are currently vying for the top spot in the East. Veteran point guard Lindsey Hunter faced the Celtics in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals as a member of the Detroit Pistons. He understands firsthand the level of competition the Bulls would be up against.

‘€œI think the first thing that stands out with Boston and with Cleveland is clear cut ‘€“ their identity is defense,’€ he said. ‘€œThey totally take away what you like to do and they make you go to your second, third option. And teams that can do that on a consistent basis are teams that are tough, because that’s tough to do.

‘€œYou have to really be on the same page and really be to the point where guys trust each other no matter what. And when I watch those guys play, I see it. Defensively, I see the rotations that guys aren’t second guessing. And if there is a missed rotation, then guys are talking to each other and communicating. And  I’ve been on teams like that so I know what that’s like, and it takes a lot of growth to get there. It takes a lot of growth. And with a young team like ours, I definitely think we can. It just takes some time.’€

The Bulls admit they will have work to do if they advance to the playoffs — ‘€œWe’ve still got some kinks,’€ said Rose. But with 15 games left to go in the regular season, they are staying optimistic about clinching a postseason berth.

‘€œOur goal is getting the playoffs,’€ Hinrich said. ‘€œI don’t think anyone is thinking about next year right now. We’re focused on the task at hand and just trying to get into the playoffs and see what happens.’€

Read More: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose,
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