The Celtics return to the Garden tonight for game 5 of this seesaw battle between the defending champions and the upstart Bulls. The C’s have made their way back home no doubt disappointed by letting opportunities get away in an unforgettable game 4. Make no mistake, the team went into Chicago and succeeded in its original mission: Regaining home court advantage. Getting both games in Chi-town would have been nice but no Celtic fan could have reasonably excited this team to do that after the first two games of this series.
To lose this series now, the Green must lose another one in the Jungle and that is not an easy task for these baby Bulls. To make matters worse for Chicago, the injury bug has finally bit them as Ben Gordon is questionable to play tonight with a strained hamstring and has been quoted as saying by Marc Spears “It’s still pretty bad. I don’t know. I’m looking for a miracle.” Look for Gordon to play but also don’t be surprised to see the Celtics test his hamstring early and often by going to Ray Allen off of a steady diet of double picks.
More Things to Watch For Tonight
-A raucous home crowd:
The Celtic faithful were loud for many parts of the first two games, but also appeared to be in shock on multiple occasions by the Bulls’ impressive play and unwillingness to back down to the champs. Rajon Rondo has called in for help from the faithful and you can bet this crowd knows the team needs them more than ever. Expect them to make life as difficult and possible for new public enemy number 1 Joakim Noah along with his partners in crime.
-A healthy dose of Brian Scalabrine:
It only took two games for Scal to leapfrog ahead of Mikki Moore on the big man depth chart. The red head put together an impressive effort on Sunday, despite fouling out in 18 minutes of play. Now that he knows he is the main backup in the rotation, look for Scal to be more careful in giving fouls given Perk’s tendency to pick up a couple cheap fouls at any point in the game. The guy will need to be productive in order to help the C’s bench be an asset while they are in the game so Perkins and Baby don’t have log 40+ minutes. Fresh big men are more useful players at the ends of games and Scalabrine’s contributions will be pivotal in allowing this situation to become a reality.
-A bounce back performance by The Truth:
The guy was flat out a detriment to this team’s offense for much of the game Sunday. John Salmons and Kirk Hinrich did a great job in limiting his looks from the perimeter and Pierce got no help from the refs upon taking it to the hole. Another 8/23 performance is not going to get it done, so look for the Captain to try to get going early like in game 3. If he gets hot early, the Celtics become a different team.