Normally, I'm not a huge fan of so-called "statement games" in the NBA.
There are 82 regular-season games; take it easy guys. Just because one good team wins against another, doesn't necessarily make it a defining moment in the season.
But on April 7th, 2011 at 8:00 PM EST at the United Center, arguably the most important game thus far in the season will take place when Derrick Rose's Chicago Bulls faceoff against Rajon Rondo's Boston Celtics.
With the season winding down and the Bulls holding on to first place in the Eastern Conference and with nothing short of a train wreck needed for them to lose their lead, some may say this game has little meaning.
But that simply wouldn't be true. Basketball is a game of emotion.
In my experience as a basketball player, when I hit three or four shots in a row, I feel extremely confident going into the next one. When a team is winning and feeling confident, it shows in their play.
Though the Bulls have a very good record and are already confident, they still have a loosing record against the Celtics this year at 1-2.
Winning this game against such a talented team just before the playoffs will do wonders. Also, what if the Bulls and Celtics play each other in the playoffs? The Bulls will feel a lot better heading into that series if they win tonight.
It's also obvious that Coach Thibodeau would love to stick it to his former team and win in convincing fashion.
Joakim Noah loves to play the Celtics, and fans love his commercial where he describes the mutual hatred between him and Boston. Derrick Rose will be up and ready to go, and will put up at least thirty points.
Boston will come out ready to play as well, as they currently hold only a half-game lead over the Heat for second place in the East.
Yes, Doc Rivers has said he won't burn out his starters in order to get better seeding.
That's not going to happen tonight, because basic competitiveness will take over.
Tonight's game, in essence, will be the first playoff game of the year. Both teams are treating it as such, and it will be great for the Bulls if they can win.
This game will also play a role in deciding the top three seeds in the East. If the Bulls loose, the Celtics are back in the running for first place. If Chicago wins, Miami will have an opportunity to tie or take second place from Boston.
Bulls vs. Celtics: No. 1 vs. No. 2. What more could you want?
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