NBA Basketball

85
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Boston 29 13 21 22 85
Chicago 28 28 22 30 108
108
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CTNaN:� , December 11, 2017
United Center, Chicago, Illinois  Attendance: 19,617

Bulls vie for third straight win as Celtics visit

According to STATS
According to STATS

Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls

  1. The Celtics allowed a season-low 81 points in their 91-81 win in Detroit yesterday, the fewest that Boston has allowed in a road game since January 7, 2015 (81 at Brooklyn). It is the second fewest the Celtics have allowed in any game since the start of last season, with the fewest being 80 by the Bulls in a 100-80 win for Boston on March 12.
  2. The Bulls have won two in a row for the first time this season to finish 5-20 through 25 games. It is only the fourth time in franchise history that Chicago has had five wins or fewer through 25 games of a season, and the first time since 2001-02 when it started 4-21.
  3. These teams split their four regular-season meetings last season, with each team winning both home games. Tonight marks their first meeting since last season's playoffs when the Celtics beat the Bulls in six games, 4-2, despite losing the first two games of the series at home.
  4. Boston leads the league in scoring defense this season, allowing only 96.9 points per game. Chicago averaging 96.9 points per game offensively, the fewest in the Eastern Conference and the second fewest in the NBA (Kings -- 96.1).
  5. Jayson Tatum is the only player this season shooting at least 50.0 percent from both the field and from three-point range on at least 50 three-point attempts.
  6. Kris Dunn is one of three players averaging at least 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.0 blocks in December (minimum two games played). The other three players are Jimmy Butler, James Harden and Chris Paul.

CHICAGO -- Back-to-back victories may not seem like the biggest of accomplishments, but in a season in which the Chicago Bulls are experiencing plenty of growing pains and toll-taking injuries, even small successes carry some weight.

After a weekend in which Chicago managed to snap a 10-game losing streak and hold on for a pair of closely contested wins, the heavy lifting continues on Monday when the Bulls host the Boston Celtics at the United Center.

The Celtics (23-5) boast the league's best record while the Bulls (5-20) possess the league's worst mark. Despite the disparity and all of the challenges that the Celtics present, Chicago's two-game winning streak has provided the Bulls with a renewed sense of confidence after dealing with the 10 consecutive setbacks.

The Bulls slipped past the Hornets 119-111 in overtime at Charlotte on Friday, then posted a 104-102 home victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday.

The Celtics will be without point guard Kyrie Irving, ruled out because of a left quad contusion. Irving scored 16 points on 4-of-12 shooting on Sunday, playing 34 minutes against Detroit. He came out of the game in the first quarter and was spotted removing his left shoe and stretching out his leg during a timeout, according to ESPN.

Chicago is benefitting from the return of Nikola Mirotic, who missed 23 games with facial fractures and a concussion sustained in a fight with teammate Bobby Portis. After returning to action on Friday, Mirotic sparked the Bulls with 19 points Saturday.

The Bulls withstood a late-fourth-quarter surge by the Knicks and made enough plays late to win for the second straight night.

"We've got to keep hopefully building and gain a little confidence with finding a way to win two close games," Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg said after the Saturday victory. "Hopefully, we'll get a little rest for our guys (Sunday) and bounce back with good effort in what will obviously be an extremely tough game on Monday."

For a team that has already endured its share of adversity, including the recent lengthy losing streak, using actual victories as a springboard is a sign that the Bulls haven't lost faith in themselves while navigating difficult times.

"We've been in a lot of tough games," Chicago guard Kris Dunn said Saturday. "It just shows that we're starting to get it together down the stretch (in games)."

Now the Bulls will have to take another step forward against the league's top team.

The Celtics have won seven of their last nine games, and they bounced back from a loss at San Antonio on Friday with a 91-81 road victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

Boston avoided losing for the second straight game after building a 16-point, fourth-quarter lead. The Celtics weathered a late Pistons surge while Boston missed 12 straight shots, emerging on top while giving up season-low point total.

"We were locked in," Celtics forward Aron Baynes said. "Our offense wasn't as crisp tonight as we wanted it to be, but defensively we had a game plan and we stuck with it. We were trying to pack the paint and make them make plays from the outside. Last time, they really had whatever they wanted inside the paint. Tonight, we wanted to go out there and control it a lot better."

The Celtics will look to avoid offensive lulls on Monday against the Bulls, who, despite their record, have impressed opposing teams with their effort. Playing on a short turnaround, Boston is not only without Irving, but will again be without forward Marcus Morris, who didn't play on Sunday and has been ruled out for Monday due to a left knee injury.

Also, center Al Horford was listed as questionable with a right knee contusion.

Updated December 11, 2017

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