On Wednesday, the Bulls had an embarrassingly low total of 21 rebounds and Joakim Noah, among the league leaders all year, had none. Carlos Boozer, just returning from injury, had only two.
Boozer knows he has to perform better for the Bulls to be considered serious contenders in the NBA's Eastern Conference. Noah knows he has to match up better with Celtics center Kevin Garnett, who has had his number in many previous meetings -- not to mention the better of the battle of their elbows.
The Celtics have won five straight and are tied with the Orlando Magic for the best record in the East at 14-4. They are 8-1 at home, which includes a 110-105 overtime win over the Bulls just short of a month ago, on Nov. 5. The Bulls were proud of their effort in that game, but know they have to put out maximum effort against one of the league's best teams in order to prove they belong there. They didn't do that on Wednesday. A win tonight would make a statement that they know what they did wrong and are on their way.
Tonight's game begins at 7 p.m. CST and will be televised locally on CSN Chicago and nationally on ESPN.