With about a dozen games to go on the NBA regular season schedule, the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls are in a dogfight for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
The winner will receive home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs, making the No. 1 seed invaluable.
Both the Bulls and the Celtics are contenders for the NBA title, so it will be interesting to see how the season unfolds and who finishes with the Eastern Conference Championship banner.
Currently, the Bulls and the Celtics are tied atop the Eastern Conference standings. Both teams have identical records of 49-19 and both teams have 14 games left on the schedule.
With just one game against each other left on the slate, the remaining schedule could decide who will ultimately win the conference.
The Celtics invade Chicago on April 7th to play the last remaining game on the schedule against the Bulls.
The previous games between these two teams have been heated and intense.
The teams met in early November in slugfest that was settled in overtime. The Celtics prevailed in overtime 110-105. Kevin Garnett had 16 points and 10 rebounds and complemented Ray Allen's 25 points in this battle.
In early December, the Celtics defeated the Bulls by the final score of 104-92. Kevin Garnett was the star for the Celtics, as he put up 20 points and 17 rebounds. Garnett’s 17 rebounds were his most in two years, as he responded to some trash talk by Joakim Noah, who called Garnett “mean” and “ugly“ in a radio interview.
In fact, all of the Celtics stars scored in double digits, including Rajon Rondo with 18, Paul Pierce with 18 and Ray Allen with 14.
This was just the second game in the Bulls lineup for Carlos Boozer after suffering a broken hand. The game was in Boston and was the eighth road game in nine games for the sluggish Bulls.
In the last meeting, the Bulls got revenge as they beat Boston in Chicago by a final score of 90-79. Derrick Rose was the most aggressive player on the floor with 36 points and Carlos Boozer had a double-double.
This rematch will be the first time that the Celtics face the Bulls since they traded Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Bulls will have the edge of playing at home, but it will be interesting to see how they react to the new-look Celtics.
Heading down the stretch, the Chicago Bulls are the hotter of the two teams.
The Bulls have won eight of the last ten games in March and they are doing it with defense. During that run, the Bulls have allowed their opponents to score 80 points or less in three of the last five games overall and have only allowed over 100 points once. The Bulls are faring much better than the Celtics of late.
The Celtics have won six out of the last 10 games in March and have some losses that have allowed the media to question the intensity of their drive at this point in the season. The Celtics have lost at the Houston Rockets, at the New Jersey Nets and an unforgivable loss to the Clippers in Boston.
The rumors are that Rajon Rondo is hurt, but if the Celtics do not start playing better, the Bulls will take the top spot in the East.
The Celtics have 14 games remaining on the regular season schedule. They have a four-game road trip left on the schedule and tough games on the road against the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs.
Eight teams left on the 14-game schedule have a winning record and it may be difficult for the Celtics to keep pace with the Bulls.
The Chicago Bulls have the easier remaining schedule, as they face just six teams out of the 14 games left with winning records. The two toughest road games left are against the New York Knicks and the Orlando Magic.
The Bulls longest road trip is a three-game set and overall, they seem to be in a better position as far as the schedule is concerned.
The Bulls and the Celtics are battling it out for the top spot, but it’s very possible that they both could lose out to the Miami Heat.
Miami is just two games out of first place and they have a game against the Boston Celtics on the schedule.
They have 12 games left on the schedule and they play against just four teams with winning records over that stretch.
If the Heat can put a late run together, they could easily sneak in and take the conference away from the Bulls and the Celtics.
The odds for the Boston Celtics to win the East are 1:1 as they are the favorites to claim the title, but it may be difficult if they don’t have home-court advantage.
The Eastern Conference regular season title is up for grabs and the Chicago Bulls seem to have the best chance of claiming the top spot.
They are playing better basketball and have a favorable schedule. Only time will tell who will win the East, but the Bulls look like the best bet.
Matt Regaw is a B/R Featured Columnist and the founder of BookieBlitz.com, your one-stop shop for sports articles, previews and predictions. Feel free to contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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