Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
CHICAGO – The Boston Celtics will try to complete a winning road trip when they visit the Chicago Bulls on Monday. After dropping the opener of the three-game trip at San Antonio, the Celtics clamped down defensively in a 91-81 victory at Detroit on Sunday to improve to 9-2 on the road against the Eastern Conference.”We were locked in,” center Aron Baynes told reporters after his team got revenge for a recent 118-108 home loss to the Pistons.”Our offense wasn’t as crisp 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.” The Bulls have won two in a row following a 10-game losing streak as they’ve made the most of Nikola Mirotic’s return to the lineup. “I said to (assistant coach) Randy Brown at the Charlotte game that we’re going to win that game, and he said, ‘Why?'” Mirotic told reporters after a 104-102 victory over New York on Saturday. “And I said ‘Because I’m back.’ And we won that game, and today I told him too – ‘We’re going to win two in a row.’ And he said, ‘Niko, I trust you.’ We are 2-0, so there is no coincidence.” Mirotic, who missed the first 23 games due to facial fractures and a concussion resulting from a preseason fight with teammate Bobby Portis, scored 19 points in 20 minutes versus the Knicks.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN Boston, WGN (Chicago)
ABOUT THE CELTICS (23-5): Forward Al Horford rebounded from a season-worst two-point performance against the Spurs to lead his team with 18 points at Detroit while chipping in nine rebounds, six assists, two blocks and zero turnovers. Point guard Kyrie Irving added 16 points and Baynes recorded a season-high 13 rebounds as Boston prevented itself from losing consecutive games for the first time since starting 0-2. “We responded not only to that loss at home (to Detroit), but also to the tough Spurs loss,” Irving told the media. “We want to continue to build character and identity for our team and be responsive with a quick turnaround.”
ABOUT THE BULLS (5-20): Mirotic’s big effort Saturday night was part of a solid showing for Chicago’s five reserves, who combined for 54 points on 21-of-37 shooting with 14 assists and two turnovers. Point guard Kris Dunn led the starters with 17 points and nine assists and he is averaging 17.5 points, eight assists and 6.3 rebounds during a four-game stretch. “I want to be a leader for my team and I want to make the big plays,” Dunn told reporters. “I know we have multiple guys who can make plays, but I definitely want to be one of them.”
1. Boston rookie F Jayson Tatum was 3-for-5 from 3-point range Sunday to improve his NBA-leading percentage from long distance to 52.3.
2. Celtics F Marcus Morris (knee) is expected to miss his second straight game.
3. Chicago has won four straight regular-season meetings with Boston at home.