National Basketball Association
Boston at Chicago
When: 6:30 PM ET, Sunday, April 23, 2017
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Both Boston and Chicago have been unable to defend their home court so far in their Eastern Conference first-round clash, a trend the Bulls hope to stop when they host the Celtics in Game 4 on Sunday. After dropping the first two games of the series in Boston, the top-seeded Celtics took advantage of the sudden injury to Chicago point guard Rajon Rondo and coasted to a 104-87 victory in Game 3 on Friday.
Turning the tables on the road helped Boston move past a somber stretch in which their leader - All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas - played admirably through two losses in the wake of his sister's death in a car accident prior to the series. "I thought Isaiah was great. ... He was very poised," center Al Horford told reporters after Friday's win of his teammate, who spent time with family in Washington before flying to Chicago. "I'm definitely proud of him, the way he's been able to handle everything and the way he got it together and put [on] a great performance tonight." Without Rondo, who is out indefinitely with a fractured right thumb, the Bulls saw their assist total fall from 28 in Game 2 to 14 in Game 3, while their turnovers jumped from 12 to 18. Star swingman Jimmy Butler averaged 26 points in the two wins at Boston before being held to 14 on 7-of-21 shooting in Friday's loss.TV:
6:30 p.m. ET, TNT, CSN New England (Boston), CSN ChicagoABOUT THE CELTICS:
Thomas scored 16 points in Game 3 - nearly 13 below his season average - but handed out nine assists as others around him became more involved offensively, namely fellow guard Avery Bradley (15 points, 4-of-6 from 3-point range). "Avery did a lot of good things. I couldn’t take him out of the game," coach Brad Stevens said of his shooting guard, who also had seven rebounds, seven assists and spent much of the game shutting down Butler and Wade on the defensive end. Backup point guard Terry Rozier was a non-factor in the games in Boston but emerged in Game 3 to provide 11 points in 23 minutes off the bench.ABOUT THE BULLS:
Coach Fred Hoiberg was asked after Friday's game if he would run the offense more through Butler and veteran Dwyane Wade and rely less on Rondo's backups, Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams, who combined for eight points, three assists and seven turnovers. "We'll see," Hoiberg told the media. "We'll go back and watch it and get together with the film session with our team [Saturday]. Get them back in the gym, and then make that decision before the game on Sunday." Center Robin Lopez has been around to clean up many of the messes around him and has 16 offensive rebounds in the series, which has helped him average 14.7 points on 70.4 percent shooting.BUZZER BEATERS
1. Chicago has outrebounded Boston by an average of 12.3 in the series.
2. Bulls PF Bobby Portis scored a total of five points over the last two games after recording 19 in Game 1.
3. Game 5 will be Wednesday in Boston.PREDICTION:
Celtics 105, Bulls 102
Stats and Records