Boston 12-11 at Chicago 13-10
Result of last meeting: Boston 101 – Chicago 95
The Boston Celtics will take on the Chicago Bulls tonight in Chicago. They are coming off back to back losses over the weekend in Texas, losing on Friday to the Houston Rockets 101 to 89 and then on Saturday in San Antonio to the Spurs 103 – 88. In both games the Celtics played very well in spurts, but in the end were soundly beaten.
Tonight they will be facing a Bulls team that is coming off an 80 - 71 loss in Memphis last night. However, the Bulls have been playing much better of late winning five of their last seven games and seem to be a better team than the one the Celtics beat by six points in early November. If the Celtics are to beat the Bulls a second time this season they are going to need to do the following:
Better interior defense
Rajon Rondo earned another suspension for losing his cool on the basketball court Wednesday night in a game against the Brooklyn Nets. This time it was an emotional reaction to a hard foul by Kris Humphries on Kevin Garnett that caused him to push the Nets forward into the stands. Rondo’s actions have put the Boston Celtics in a tight spot, as they will have to play their next two games without the National Basketball Associations assists leader. However, this is not a new position for the team to be in, on two other occasions this past calendar year they have had to play without their All-Star point guard
The Los Angeles Lakers are off to their most tumultuous start since Jimmy Carter was President of the United States. They began their season with one win through five games, which led to the hasty firing of head coach Mike Brown. The team’s management led by Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss then raised the expectations of the Lakers fan base by negotiating with coaching legend Phil Jackson to return as head coach before ultimately deciding to hire former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni instead of Jackson.
This decision stunned their fan base and Lakers legend Magic Johnson, who stated his feelings on ESPN’s National Basketball Association Countdown show shortly after D’Antoni, was hired. “I don’t believe in Jim Buss, he’s made two critical mistakes already. First hiring Mike Brown, he wasn’t the right coach. And I don’t feel Mike D’Antoni is the right coach for the Lakers. Especially when you have Phil Jackson sitting out there, who wanted to be the Lakers coach.”
With Ray Allen now a member of the Miami Heat and Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce further into the twilight of their careers, the 2012-2013 NBA season will see the Boston Celtics move into the next era of the franchise’s storied history. This era will be defined by Rajon Rondo’s ability to lead the team and live up to the expectation that he is one of the National Basketball Association’s premier players.
During the off season the Celtics management made the commitment to this transition regardless of whether Ray Allen was going to sign with the team or not, by telling the future hall of famer that upstart shooting guard Avery Bradley would replace him in the starting line-up when the next season begins. Bradley’s presence in the starting line-up better complements the play of Rondo than Allen’s, because Bradley can get out and run the floor better than the sharp-shooting veteran.
Rajon Rondo recently stated to ABS-CBN news that he hopes he is able to end his career "as the best to ever play" point guard in the history of the Boston Celtics. This is an admirable goal, but since he plays for a National Basketball Association team that had Bob Cousy on its roster for thirteen seasons, it is an unattainable one.
Cousy is on a short list of the most dominant NBA players of the 1950's. He amassed a career of achievement that was unrivaled upon his retirement in 1963 and five decades later has only been matched by a small number of players. He was a thirteen-time All-Star, a twelve-time All-NBA team selection, a two-time All-Star game Most Valuable Player, the 1957 regular season MVP and a member of six Celtic championship teams. Furthermore, he led the league in assists eight times, was an eighty percent career free-throw shooter and a bona-fide scoring threat. He averaged over twenty points per game four times and twice finished second in the NBA in average points scored per game.