Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 23, 2019
Where: United Center, Chicago
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
CHICAGO – The Boston Celtics stumbled in their first game following the All-Star break but hope to get back into the win column against a team they’ve embarrassed twice already this season when they visit the Chicago Bulls on Saturday. The Celtics routed the Bulls 111-82 at home in November and then set a franchise record for largest margin of victory in a 133-77 triumph at Chicago in December.
Boston shot 53.8 percent from the floor in that one-sided win, but it finished at 38.2 percent in Thursday’s 98-97 loss at Milwaukee, with All-Star Kyrie Irving’s off-balance attempt in the closing seconds the final miss. “It happens,” Irving told reporters of the loss coming after a week off. “Just part of the break and coming off and playing the first game, getting the cold ones out.” The Bulls will be aiming for their first three-game winning streak of the season after knocking off Memphis prior to the break and then Orlando after it. Lauri Markkanen capped a 25-point effort with two free throws with 1.5 seconds left in Friday’s 110-109 triumph over the Magic on the road.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCS Boston, NBCS Chicago
ABOUT THE CELTICS (37-22): Irving missed the final two games before the break due to a knee issue before playing 25 minutes in the All-Star Game and then shooting 9-for-27 from the floor in 41 minutes Thursday night. Al Horford chipped in 21 points and a season-high 17 rebounds to go along with five assists, three blocks and two steals. The team played without reserve forward Gordon Hayward, who sprained an ankle in a workout Tuesday, but he has been upgraded to probable for this one.
ABOUT THE BULLS (15-44): Markkanen owns nine double-doubles in his last 10 games and has reached the 20-point mark in seven consecutive contests. Also on a roll for Chicago is center Robin Lopez, who scored 18 points in Friday’s win and is shooting 67.5 percent from the floor over a span of eight games, the last three of which have seen him play more than 30 minutes. “Any NBA player always is going to be happy to be playing,” Lopez, who entered Friday averaging 17.8 minutes, told reporters. “Base motivation right there.”
1. Celtics SG Jaylen Brown averaged 20.5 points on 64 percent shooting in the first two matchups.
2. Bulls SF Otto Porter Jr. is 14-for-25 from 3-point range in five games since being acquired from Washington.
3. Boston has claimed each of the last five meetings.