W2W4: Celtics vs. Bulls (Game 39 of 82)

January, 18, 2013
1/18/13
11:00
AM ET
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty ImagesCeltics point guard Rajon Rondo looks to dish against the Bulls.
The Boston Celtics (20-18, 13-7 home) close out a five-game homestand by hosting the Chicago Bulls (22-15, 11-5 away) on Friday night at TD Garden (ESPN, 7 p.m.) Here's what to watch for:

* ON THE REBOUND: Celtics coach Doc Rivers bottom-lined the key for his team: "Well, we better rebound, because they are a great rebounding team." The Bulls gush size, but what's amazing is that Boston actually owns a better defensive rebound rate -- barely (73.4 to 73.1 percent). The Bulls make up for it with their activity on the offensive glass and rank seventh in the league with an overall rebound rate at 51.8 percent. Rivers said his team won't overreact by throwing Jason Collins into the starting lineup for pure size, so it's on Boston's undersized bigs like Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger to be active on the glass on Friday.

* SYNERGY SNAPSHOT: The Bulls' defense remains their calling card as Chicago ranks second in the league while allowing a mere 0.88 points per play, according to Synergy Sports data. The Bulls own the best halfcourt defense in the league (0.834 ppp) and are second against spot-up shooting (0.876 ppp). Joakim Noah keys the defense with a team-high 16.4 percent of plays finishing against him (and Noah ranks in the 91st percentile allowing a mere 0.73 points per play). Offensively, the Bulls rank 23rd while scoring 0.891 points per play. Chicago doesn't do anything exceptionally well and five of their top seven rotation players rank between the 51st and 67th percentile, with Chicago's aversion to 3-point shots helping drive down their points-per-play production on an already spotty offensive unit.

* FREAKY FRIDAYS: As our friends at ESPN Stats and Info point out, the Bulls are 5-0 on Fridays this season and are the only undefeated team in the league on that day (the busiest night of the week for NBA squads). The Bulls also had the best record during Friday games last season (8-1) and, dating back to April 2011, the Bulls have won their last 13 road games on Fridays (which Elias Sports Bureau adds is the first team in league history to win 13 consecutive Friday road games). For what it's worth, the Celtics are 4-5 on Friday this season.

* BOOZER WATCH: Carlos Boozer is playing some of his most inspired ball in a Chicago uniform with Stats and Info noting he's averaging 22.6 points and 11.2 rebounds over his last 10 games. That includes a monster 36-point effort against the Raptors on Wednesday. Asked what's changed about the Bulls since the teams met last month in Chicago, Rajon Rondo noted, "Boozer’s starting to come around. He’s playing really well as of late. That’s about it." Read more on Boozer HERE.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksB. Bass 0.9