Celtics vs. Bulls: Breaking Down the Keys to Victory for Both Teams

Ryan DavenportContributor INovember 12, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 07: Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics goes up for a shot past Joakim Noah #13 and against Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls at United Center on April 7, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Tonight, two Eastern Conference powerhouses will go head-to-head in an early season matchup, when the Boston Celtics head to the Windy City to take on the Central Division-leading Chicago Bulls

Thus far, the Celtics have been inconsistent, as the team has dropped three of their first six games to the Bucks, 76ers and Heat, so a win over the Derrick Rose-less Bulls would be a step in the right direction. 

At the other end of the court, the Bulls have managed to go 4-2 even without their franchise players and emotional leader, as Rose continues to recover from offseason knee surgery. 

Heading into tonight's showdown between two of the East's top teams, here are the keys to victory for both teams. 



More Production Off the Bench

Six games in, Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce have been carrying the Celtics, but Boston hasn't been getting enough out of its secondary scorers.

So far, Jason Terry has been the only guy off the bench to score in double digits consistently, and considering that Kevin Garnett has only been averaging 16 points a night, the Celtics need more production out of the supporting cast. 

Rondo and Pierce have been doing their jobs, but ultimately, that won't matter if Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass don't score more. 

As ESPN's fantasy spin points out, Sullinger's numbers thus far have been disappointing considering his increase in minutes on the court. 

Despite receiving 30 minutes of playing time, Sullinger scored a mere four points to go along with seven rebounds, which likely did little to help his claim to the starting job. Expect Rivers to continue to tinker with his usage of Sullinger and Bass in subsequent games, but both players should get roughly equal playing time each night for the foreseeable future.

The Celtics will improve as the season wears on, but Jason Terry is not Ray Allen, so Boston will need bigger contributions off the bench if it's going to even come close to challenging the Knicks in the Atlantic Division. 



Continue to Score by Committee

Chicago has managed to win without its star by getting consistent production out of a number of players, as five players enter tonight's game averaging at least 10 points per game. 

Led by Luol Deng's 17.7 points per game, the Bulls' offense has been a balanced attack, which is why the team ranks fifth in the league in assists per game heading into the matchup against Boston. 

Aided by sixth man Nate Robinson's 11.5 points per game, Tom Thibodeau's team has been rolling, and if the bench continues to support Deng, Joakim Noah and Richard Hamilton, the Bulls will keep winning until Rose returns.