The Celtics should beat the Bulls at the United Center tonight and ultimately take the series. The first two games at the TD Boston Garden were close and the Bulls even managed to escape with one win. In Chicago, the Celtics should take control of the series as their playoff experience and superior talent begin to wear down on the Bulls.
The defending NBA Champion Celtics as a team have significant playoff experience. Doc Rivers has coached in 50 playoff games. His counterpart, Vinny Del Negro has coached in only 2. On average Celtics players have logged 6 years in the league, versus the Bulls collective 5.
Ben Gordon may be the best player for the Bulls, but the Celtics have two future Hall of Famers in their starting lineup – Pierce and Ray Allen. And if you look at the coaches, the 6’4″ Rivers was a better guard than the 6’4″ Vinny Del Negro, with more NBA experience.
In Doc’s 13 seasons as a player, he played in 81 playoff games to Vinny’s 54. Doc averaged 10.9 points per game in his NBA career; Del Negro, 9.1 in 12 seasons. Del Negro was a slightly better shooter statistically, but Doc had twice as many career assists – 4889 to 2484. Statistically, Doc was a better defender with more career blocks, steals and rebounds by a considerable margin.
Known for their defense, the Celtics have yet to find a way to stop Ben Gordon and Derrick Rose. Both players can score in heaps and have given the Celtics fits. In the first two playoff games at the Garden, Gordon averaged an impressive 31 points; Rose 23. Who will be the stopper? Eddie House, Stephon Marbury, Ray Allen, Tony Allen, Rajon Rando, J.R. Giddens, Gabe Pruitt?
Up front, Kendrick Perkins has to stay out of foul trouble. If he falters, who knows, maybe Brian Scalabrine will come up big. He’s been out for 2 months recovering from post-concussion syndrome and may play some minutes. Looking past the Bulls, one thing is certain, without Kevin Garnett, the Celtics will have a hard time with their next opponent.
An interesting side note: Doc Rivers is from Illinois and Vinny Del Negro is a Massachusetts native whose father is a huge Celtics fan. GO CELTICS!
Statistics courtesy of basketball-reference.com.
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