“Personally, I don’t want to come back to Chicago, I’m treating this game like we lost Game 3. So it’s going to be my mind-set to go out here and win Game 4 and, hopefully, put it away at home.
“We’ve got the opportunity, definitely. We can’t get any more banged up, hopefully, knock on wood. We’ve got an opportunity to stick a fork in them this next game, and hopefully go back home and finish them off.
“We didn’t come up here and say by winning Game 3 we’ve got home-court advantage back, we can take it easy. That’s definitely not our mind-set – our mind-set is to come up here and win and go home and win one more.”
Words spoken by a veteran leader on a veteran team that knows how to win. Paul Pierce knows that even after trouncing Chicago in game 3, there are no guarantees. By focusing on this game as just one game they have to win, not only will his and others’ killer instincts be in full effect today, but they’ll also be in position to avoid any “winner’s hangover.”
What to watch for…
No limping from Rondo. Who can forget Bill Walker helping Rondo off the floor after game three? I think I heard a collective “what!?” from outside my apartment window as Boston seemed poised for another injured player. Have no fear Celtics fans. Rondo will be fine. He’s had extra time to rest his tired and hurt feet. Look for him to stay aggressive on both ends of the floor. He has either matched or surpassed the play of Derrick Rose this series, so there’s no reason to expect anything else.
Strong play from the Celtics’ bench. Due to the Celtics garnering that big lead by the fourth quarter, the Celtics’ bench got some extended minutes. What’s inspiring about this is that the bench played well and didn’t let the Bulls get anywhere close. Marbury had the best game of the playoffs scoring 13 points and dishing out five dimes. Mikki Moore also had a good game (for him) by not fouling out in 20 minutes. I also look forward to Eddie House heating up and Tony Allen playing through this crazy off-court situation.
The Bulls to step their game up. The Bulls got a gut check the other night when the Celtics took it to them, beating them by 21 points. Look for the Bulls to come out firing. Ben Gordon will attempt a repeat of his game 2 performance by shooting the ball aggressively. Rose will attempt a repeat of his game 1 and slash through the lane whenever an opportunity arises. Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah will play with extremely high energy and hit the glass hard.
What I think will happen. I expect the Celtics to win this game. In the first three games of this series, it’s safe to say we’ve seen each team at their best and the Celtics have the edge in experience. Still, look for the Bulls to play extremely hard, as they are an up-and-coming team that has showed a lot of guts and promise.