Chicago @ Boston preview
Last Meeting ( Jan 9, 2023 ) Chicago 99, Boston 107
The Boston Celtics can advance to the knockout stage of the NBA's in-season tournament, but they'll need a dominating performance against the visiting Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night - plus some help from the Brooklyn Nets to do it.
The Celtics could win East Group C if several outcomes go Boston's way - including a Celtics win over the Bulls and a Brooklyn victory over Toronto on Tuesday. That would leave Boston, Brooklyn and Orlando in a three-way tie for first place in the East Group C standings, each at 3-1.
The group winner would then be determined by the second tiebreaker, which is point differential. Boston's point differential is zero, Orlando's is plus-22 and Brooklyn's is plus-8. The Celtics would need a 23-plus point victory and hope that the Nets win by fewer than 15 points.
The six group winners and two wild-card teams advance to the quarterfinals of the in-season tournament, which concludes with semifinals and the final in December.
There is also a path for the Celtics to reach the knockout stage as a wild card if they beat the Bulls. In that scenario, Boston would have to finish with a better point differential than the other Eastern Conference teams that don't finish first in their group.
Following Sunday's 113-103 victory over Atlanta, Boston's Jayson Tatum made it clear he's not in favor of point differential being used as a tiebreaker.
"The point differential thing, I'm not the biggest fan of it because there were certain instances, I guess last Friday (in a 113-96 loss to Orlando), where the game is already over and guys are still trying to score," Tatum said.
"It's all about respecting the game and respecting your opponents, so that part I'm really not a fan of because if you were on the opposite end of that you would feel some kind of way."
The Bulls are winless in the three in-season tournament games they have played, and are coming off Sunday night's 118-109 loss to Brooklyn. Chicago allowed 25 3-pointers in the loss.
"Obviously 25 3s is a lot of 3s," Chicago coach Billy Donovan said. "It's hard to overcome when a team makes 25 3s. Give them credit.
"There were shots that they made through good ball movement, good offense by them to find those other shots that we probably didn't communicate well enough and didn't contest well enough."
DeMar DeRozan led Chicago with 27 points. Coby White scored 23 points, and Zach LaVine and Patrick Williams each finished with 20. The Bulls enter Tuesday's game having lost four games in a row and seven of their past eight.
LaVine (foot) and Alex Caruso (toe) are questionable for the contest.
Boston was without center Kristaps Porzingis (calf strain) and guard Jrue Holiday (ankle sprain) for Sunday's game against Atlanta. Porzingis isn't expected back until next week at the earliest. It's unclear whether Holiday will play Tuesday. He also sat out Friday's loss to Orlando.
Center Neemias Queta came off the bench to grab 10 rebounds in 15 minutes for Boston. Delano Banton started for Holiday on Sunday and finished with eight points, five rebounds and one assist in 19 minutes.
"They never know when they're going to play, and their name was called," Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said. "So I just wanted to prove to them and show them that their hard work can pay off, and we're going to need all of them in some capacity at some point."
- Field Level Media