Celtics hope to bounce back, host Bulls
The Boston Celtics had their six-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday night, but they will try to get back on track Friday when they host the Chicago Bulls.
The Celtics fell, at home, to the New Orleans Hornets, 90-78. It marked the first time that C's coach Doc Rivers took on his son Austin, a guard for the Hornets, and although the son didn't do too much, New Orleans dominated the fourth quarter en route to victory.
The Hornets held Boston to 15 points in the final frame and dominated the Celtics on the glass to the tune of 48-33. New Orleans only shot 11.8 percent from the 3-point line, committed 18 turnovers and shot 44 percent from the field. The Celtics fared better in all three of those categories, but were overall out-played.
"We didn't play well," said Doc Rivers. "We let our guard down, starting in practice yesterday. I didn't do anything about it. Kicking myself about it."
Kevin Garnett, a recently announced Eastern Conference starter in the All-Star game, led the way with 15 points. Paul Pierce posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, but fouled out of the game. Jason Terry chipped in 12 off the bench.
Rajon Rondo was also named a starter in the All-Star game for the first time in his career.
The Bulls head to Beantown winners of two straight and three of their last four. Chicago defeated the Toronto Raptors, 107-105, in overtime on Wednesday night.
Luol Deng hit a pull-up jumper with just over three seconds left on the clock in overtime. He finished with 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds, but the big story was the continued strong play of Carlos Boozer.
The big man from Duke netted 36 points on 16-for-24 shooting. Boozer also grabbed 12 rebounds.
"We had a tough end to 2012 and we all want to play much better in 2013 and get more wins," said Boozer, who registered his conference leading 22nd double-double. "And so far we are doing pretty well in January."
The Bulls are 6-2 since the calendar turned and they boast some All-Star candidates in Boozer, Deng and center Joakim Noah. The Florida big is averaging a career-high 12.4 ppg and 10.7 rpg all while playing the fifth-most minutes in the league. With a relative lack of centers in the Eastern Conference, Noah may represent the best chance for a Bulls player to make it to Houston on Feb. 17. Reserves will be announced on Jan. 24.
Chicago and Boston have split the first two games this season, which were both in Chicago. The Bulls, who own the best road record in the East at 11-5, have lost eight of their last 10 in Boston.