Bulls try to stop Rondo's run at history on CSN
November 12, 2012, 12:14 am
The Bulls will have an attempt to halt history in the making tonight when they host Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics tonight at the United Center on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live.
Rondo dished out 10 assists Friday night in a win against the Bucks, giving him 10 assists or more in 30 straight games, the third longest streak in NBA history. Rondo trails only Hall of Famers Magic Johnson (46, 1982-'83) and John Stockton (37; 1988-'89) on this prestigious list, and he may be happy to see Chicago next on the schedule.
In 22 career games (21 starts) Rondo has averaged 9.4 assists per game against the Bulls. That's his second highest average against any team in the East, behind only Miami (9.9 in 21 games).
The Bulls enter tonight's matchup allowing 19.8 assists per game, the seventh best mark in the league, and starting point guards are averaging just 4.6 assists per game. Only Russell Westbrook (12) has handed out double-digit assists against the Bulls, but they may have to go against Rondo without point guard Kirk Hinrich, who strained his hip Friday against the Timberwolves.
In Game 6 of the 2009 First Round Playoffs, Rondo threw Hinrich into the scorer's table and started a scrum on the court. It's a good bet that Hinrich will try his best to get back for his first game against Rondo back in Chicago.
Rondo has added six games to his list this season, made more impressive because he's doing so without sharpshooter Ray Allen on the perimeter. The NBA's all-time leading 3-point shooter signed with Miami this offseason, and so far Courtney Lee and Jason Terry have produced mixed results as Allen's replacement.
Lee (5.0 points, 41.9 percent) and Terry (11.7 points, 50 percent) have lacked consistency, and because of that the Celtics have been forced to rely on their Big Three of Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
But Boston's decision to move Garnett to center, with Brandon Bass and first round draft pick Jared Sullinger manning the power forward spot, has been up-and-down. The Celtics have been outscored by 13 points in the paint through six games, and the loss of reserve center Greg Stiemsma looms large in the middle.
That's good news for Joakim Noah, whose 15.0 points per game this year is easily a career-high. He's been efficient, is making his free throws at a career rate and should continue his offensive pace tonight. Noah has always played Boston with an extra chip on his shoulder after his memorable steal-and-dunk
on Paul Pierce in triple-overtime of the 2009 NBA Playoffs, making him a likely game-changer for the Bulls.
Carlos Boozer also needs a rebound game after failing to make a field goal for the first time since 2003 on Friday against Minnesota. It's been a roller coaster of a year for Boozer, who will match up with Bass, who can defend from 15-feet out. Boozer's best chance may be working inside, where the Celtics have struggled thus far in 2012.
Past point guard, where the Bulls may struggled without Hinrich, the Bulls and Celtics match up perfectly in just about every category. Two defensive-minded, hard-working teams flying under the radar in the Eastern Conference are still showing they can be contenders.
The Celtics have won three of four after an 0-2 start, and the Bulls will want to leave Chicago on a high note before their six-game circus road trip. There's a chance these two teams are battling for playoff position late in the season, so tonight's game may have more implications than simply an added tally in the win column.
Tags: Kevin Garnett
, Paul Pierce
, Rajon Rondo
, Boston Celtics
, Luol Deng
, Chicago Bulls
, Joakim Noah
, Kirk Hinrich
, Nate Robinson