Celtics-Bulls preview: Too many missed jumpers for C's

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Celtics-Bulls preview: Too many missed jumpers for C's

BOSTON NBA teams are no different than other professional clubs.

When it comes to developing a formula for winning, they tend to lean on what they do best.

For the Boston Celtics, that means shooting jump shots - a lot of jump shots, actually.

It has proven to be both a blessing and a burden at times for the Celtics who come into tonight's game against Chicago having won six of their last seven.

The one setback in that span, a 90-78 loss to New Orleans on Wednesday, was a night in which the Celtics' shooters couldn't make shots. They shot 45 percent for the game, but only 30.4 percent in the decisive fourth quarter.

"We shot a lot of jump shots, but that's what we do," said Celtics guard Rajon Rondo. "You know Courtney (Lee), JT (Jason Terry), P (Paul Pierce), Kevin (Garnett), Brandon (Bass), they're all jump-shooters."

But as Rondo pointed out later, they all have the ability to score driving to the basket as well.

Finding an ideal balance between the two remains a challenge at times for the C's.

"There's nothing wrong with taking jump shots if you're making them; if you're open and you're making them," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "But you have to have some kind of regulator of your team and yourself if they're not going in, you have to go to the second or third option and look for a better shot."

While that might appear as though it places the blame on the shoulders of point guard Rajon Rondo, Rivers is quick to clarify that was not the issue.

"It's on everyone," Rivers said. "Rondo is the leader of that to get guys into stuff, but in transition it's his job to throw the ball ahead. We're throwing the ball ahead, they're jacking shots up, it's tough on him. We have to be better."

They will get that opportunity tonight against the Chicago Bulls as the C's try to cap off their five-game homestand with a victory. Here are some of the keys to tonight's matchup.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Joakim Noah controlled their last matchup in just about every way imaginable, finishing with a triple-double of 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. Limiting his impact to one or even two of the major categories will be huge for the Celtics.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Paul Pierce vs. Luol Deng: Deng's length tends to force Pierce to work a lot harder for good looks than he usually has to. But after struggling against Deng's defense last year (Pierce shot 21-for-59 in the four games against the Bulls), he comes into tonight's game having shot 6-for-10 against Chicago earlier this season.

PLAYER TO WATCH: The trade rumors early in the season about Carlos Boozer have died a slow death, courtesy of him putting together a long string of strong performances. In nine of Chicago's last 10 games, Boozer has had at least 15 points and 10 rebounds. Only three other players (Artis Gilmore, Michael Jordan and Elton Brand) in Bulls history have done that over a 10-game span.

STAT TO TRACK: The C's would do well to keep the free throw differential relatively close. New Orleans had almost twice as many free throw attempts (31) as the C's (16). And tonight, they face a Chicago team that's ranked in the top-10 in free throws made per game (18.3).

Bertrand: Raptors a 'scary team' in the Eastern Conference

Bertrand: Raptors a 'scary team' in the Eastern Conference

Mike Felger and Marc Bertrand talk about the Celtics clinching the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference and other potential threats for the C's.

Monday, March 27: Hall call for Habs' Markov?

Monday, March 27: Hall call for Habs' Markov?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, with crunch time coming in the NHL.

*Jack Todd says that the Hall of Fame needs to reserve a spot for Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov. Is he Hall of Fame material, or Hall of Very Good material?

*The playoff streak is coming to an end for Joe Louis Arena as the Detroit Red Wings finish out a lost season.

*Thanks to PHT writer James O’Brien for providing the kind of relaxing hockey moment that any dog lover could appreciate.

*Boston College standout Colin White has signed an amateur tryout deal with the Senators, but it remains to be seen if the entry level contract is coming.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mitch Melnick offers his hot takes about the Canadiens after a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.

*The US men’s hockey team may join the women’s team in boycotting the world championships if there isn’t a resolution soon.

*A group of longtime Leafs writers share some of their best stories from the press box

*In the shameless interest of self-promotion, here’s my hit with Toucher and Rich this morning talking about riding the hot hand with Anton Khudobin.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Tracey Myers wonders if a lopsided loss will snap the Blackhawks out of their malaise.

*Sidney Crosby fires back at Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk after he called the NHL star a whiner recently.

*For something completely different: getting to know new CSNPhilly.com baseball analyst John Kruk, who we all should know pretty well at this point.