Chicago Bulls Stat Monkey Brief: Bulls/Celtics (12/18/12)

Can the Bulls keep from turning the ball over enough to take down Boston?

The Bulls struggled mightily last night in an ugly loss to the Grizzlies, posting an abysmal offensive rating of 82.4. After a solid outing against the Sixers and a gritty win at home against the Nets, all momentum was lost with this past defeat. Thibs clearly still hasn’t ready any of my articles, because Jimmy Butler still isn’t getting nearly enough minutes… but I digress. The Bulls have a solid chance to bounce back tonight against a middling Celtics squad who also is trying to get their offense grooving.

Last Time Out

The last time these two teams faced off, the Bulls fell in close fashion to a dominant Celtics offense. Boston was lifted by stellar offensive performances by Brandon Bass and Jason Terry, who both used their possessions very effectively. Bass was especially effective, as he shot five of six from the field and went six for six from the charity stripe, posting a monstrous offensive rating of 196. Offensively, the Bulls were led by Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, with Noah being extremely efficient. However, a below average day from the four position cost the Bulls in the end.

How They Match Up

When looking at the stats, this game looks to be an interesting one. Their weaknesses and strengths go hand in hand, so that neither team stands out as a clear favorite. For example, the Bulls are one of the best teams in opponent eFG%, holding opponents to 45.6%; however, the Celtics are a strong shooting team, posting an eFG% of 50.2. Another of the Bulls strengths is offensive rebounding, where they pull down 30.2% of boards on the offensive glass. But that's pitted against a strength for the Celtics in defensive rebounding, where they grab 74.5% of boards on D.

Of the four factors (eFG%, TOV%, RB%, FT/FGA), the only clear advantage is in TOV%, where the Bulls are bottom dwellers as they lose the ball on 14.8% of possessions. Boston’s opponents are also turning the ball over at a similar rate (14.4%), so the game may come down to whether or not the Bulls can hold on to the rock.