April 28, 2009

Game 5: Bulls at Celtics | 6 p.m. CT

Filed under: Sports — hypeplug @ 5:58 pm

Game 5: Bulls at Celtics | 6 p.m. CT

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Game 5: Bulls at Celtics | 6 p.m. CT

Game 5: Bulls at Celtics | 6 p.m. CT Use Round 1, Home Game C tickets for Thursday’s game

Playoff tickets for Game 6 are still available!

Bulls Playoff Central

Sam Smith: Is this series one of the greatest ever?

Hello hype,

The Boston Celtics are back home where they won three Game 5s on their way to the NBA championship last season.

The Chicago Bulls, who claimed a dramatic win on their home court Sunday to even the series at 2-2, hope to change that trend when the teams meet Tuesday night (6:00 p.m. CT | CSN/TNT | ESPN 1000).

“I don’t look back on last year,” Ray Allen said Monday. “I just know what the task is at hand right now and that’s to beat the team that I feel we’ve given confidence to early in games that we’ve lost.”

The Bulls’ two victories required extra effort. They won the opener 105-103 in one overtime and Game 4 in two overtimes on Sunday, 121-118. Ben Gordon’s 3-point shot with 4.5 seconds left sent that game into a second overtime, a gutty performance after he had strained his left hamstring in the second quarter.

An MRI Monday confirmed the diagnosis and Gordon is listed as day-to-day, though he said Sunday he thought he’d play.

Poor defense and missed shots by the Celtics earlier in those losses set the stage for the dramatic finishes.

The Celtics remain “as confident as always,” Allen said, but “we have a tendency … to talk about what happened at the end of the game, but the tape shows you what happens consistently throughout the game and why you ultimately end up in the predicament that you end up in.”

Last year Boston was tied 2-2 in its series with Atlanta, Cleveland and Detroit, going on to beat the Hawks and Cavaliers in seven games and the Pistons in six. They won the NBA title in six games over the Los Angeles Lakers.

But that team had Kevin Garnett, Leon Powe, James Posey and P.J. Brown as part of a defensively intimidating frontcourt. In these playoffs Garnett and Powe are sidelined with knee injuries, Posey is with the New Orleans Hornets and Brown is retired.

“We’re short-handed and we’re trying to work our way through that,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said.

The problem was compounded Sunday when starting center Kendrick Perkins and reserve forward Brian Scalabrine fouled out. Rivers said he won’t allow his players to complain about fouls. Then he did that himself while dropping a hint for Tuesday night’s officials.

“I’ve got to say this about Perk. Clearly, every game he’s being targeted for these moving screens,” Rivers said. “He gets them called every game and, watching that tape (Sunday) night, there were two (fouls) that he did move in the direction but there was zero contact.

“Brad Miller, on the other hand, is flying around. He’s laying guys out on screens and didn’t get one of those called,” Rivers said of Chicago’s backup center. “That bothers you.”

After a grueling fourth game – seven of the 10 starters played at least 45 minutes – neither team practiced Monday. But with three very close games and only one blowout – a 107-86 thrashing by the Celtics in Game 3 – both teams already know plenty about each other.

“Ray Allen gets (his shot) up so quick, it’s tough,” said Kirk Hinrich, who came off the bench to play 43 minutes Sunday. “(Rajon) Rondo is constantly getting in the paint, and Paul Pierce is one of the best scorers in the league.

“It’s tough, but they definitely do a good job of screening. In the playoffs, you get away with a little more with the screens. You just have to be tough enough to get through it and still be able to challenge shots.”

Rivers is more concerned about the Celtics’ defense. He felt they switched off the men they were guarding too often Sunday – “we can’t make up our own defenses on the fly,” Rivers said. And they didn’t foul when it would have helped, like when Gordon hit his tying 3-pointer over Pierce.

“I think the play threw them off,” Gordon said. “They really didn’t know what to do. Paul got out to me pretty well because I couldn’t catch and shoot like I wanted to, but I managed to get a good shot off.”

Now the Celtics will be playing before friendly fans. They feel they’re in good enough shape to recover from Sunday’s tiring effort. They know they’re just two overtime losses from having swept the best-of-seven series and resting for the second round.

And now that they’re home, they hope more calls will go in their favor.

“I’m expecting all the calls to go against us” on the road, Perkins said, but “we still should have won the game.”

In last season’s fifth games, the Celtics beat Atlanta 110-85, Cleveland 96-89 and Detroit 106-102. But in the current series, their best player, Garnett, has been sitting on the bench in a suit.

“We can’t live off of last year,” Perkins said. “This is our first real test here.”

Tune in to watch Tuesday’s game at 6:00 p.m. CT on Comcast SportsNet Chicago or TNT and listen live on ESPN Radio 1000. Visit Bulls.com for more coverage.

Probable Bulls Starters | Roster and Statistics

Guard 1 Derrick Rose 6-3 | 190
Guard 7 Ben Gordon 6-3 | 200
Forward 15 John Salmons 6-6 | 207
Forward 24 Tyrus Thomas 6-9 | 215
Center 13 Joakim Noah 6-11 | 232

Probable Celtics Starters | Roster and Statistics

Guard 9 Rajon Rondo 6-1 | 178
Guard 20 Ray Allen 6-5 | 205
Forward 34 Paul Pierce 6-7 | 235
Forward 11 Glen Davis 6-9 | 289
Center 43 Kendrick Perkins 6-10 | 264

Injury Report

Ben Gordon (left hamstring strain) is day-to-day; Luol Deng (right tibia stress fracture) and Jerome James (ruptured right Achilles) are out. For a full report and the latest on Bulls’ injuries, check out the AthletiCo Injury Report at Bulls.com.
Kevin Garnett (sore right knee) and Leon Powe (torn ACL, meniscus, left knee) are out for Boston.

Get more game notes, statistics and player bios at Bulls.com.

SEE RED, Wear red to Bulls home playoff games
Tickets still available for Game 6!

Bulls tickets for the first two rounds of the 2009 NBA Playoffs are on sale now at Bulls.com, 1.800.4NBA.TIX, the United Center and Ticketmaster.

Buy playoff tickets now!

Win Playoff tickets!

Hey Chicago, enter now to win free tickets to see your Bulls take on the Celtics in the NBA Playoffs! And don’t forget to show your support for the team’s playoff run by wearing red to all home playoff games! See Red and get your red Bulls gear at ShopChicagoBulls.com now!

Game 1
Bulls 105,
Celtics 103 (OT)

Game 2
Celtics 118,
Bulls 115

Game 3
Celtics 107,
Bulls 86

Game 4
Bulls 121,
Celtics 118 (2OT)

Game 5
Tuesday, 4/28
Bulls @ Celtics
6:00 p.m.
ESPN Radio 1000

Game 6
Thursday, 4/30
Bulls vs. Celtics
Time TBD
ESPN Radio 1000

NBA Playoffs coverage from Sam Smith:

Is this Bulls/Celtics series one of the greatest ever?

Guards taking over in the postseason

Bulls win another classic; series tied 2-2

Bulls and Celtics heading for Game 4 showdown

Bulls trying to figure out how to come back

Bulls red faced over blowout loss to Celtics

Rose gets rookie award; Celtics thorny for Bulls

Celtics even series; Bulls look like the better team

Backcourt of Rose and Gordon among best in NBA

Where will amazing happen this year? Watch the NBA Finals coming June 4 on ABC!

Tickets still available for Game 6!


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