Week 18 of the 2020-21 NBA season begins as the Chicago Bulls visit TD Garden to take on the Boston Celtics on Monday. The Bulls snapped their five-game losing streak at the expense of the Cleveland Cavaliers in their last outing. Meanwhile, the Celtics are enjoying their best stretch of the ongoing season. They have won their last six games in a row, including big victories over the LA Lakers, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors.
Fixture: Chicago Bulls vs Boston Celtics | NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Monday, April 19th, 2021; 7:30 PM ET (Tuesday, April 20th; 5:00 AM IST).
Venue: TD Garden, Boston, MA.
Boston Celtics Preview
The Boston Celtics are coming off a huge win against the Golden State Warriors. The nationally televised game was one of the best games of the season as fans around the world tuned in as Jayson Tatum and Warriors' Stephen Curry put on a show for the ages. Tatum dropped 44 points in the Celtics' narrow win as they survived Curry's 47-point performance.
Tatum spoke to Curry at the end of regulation and said in the postgame interview:
"[The conversation with Stephen Curry was] just mutual respect, obviously he's one of the greats and just to earn the respect of somebody like him and get a win is everything."
The Boston Celtics have jumped from 8th to 4th in the Eastern Conference and their meteoric rise in the past few weeks has fans and analysts labeling them an NBA Finals sleeper team. Coach Brad Stevens has implemented new strategies and has turned their season around. The Celtics are defending better, sharing the ball more often and everyone on the team has stepped up.
Key Player - Jayson Tatum
Jayson Tatum is evolving into a superstar in this league. He joined Larry Bird as the only other Boston Celtics player to drop multiple 40-point, 10-rebound games at 23-years-old or younger. Their win against the Warriors came without Jaylen Brown, who continues to be out due to a non-COVID related illness, and Tatum stepped up to the challenge.
Jayson Tatum is averaging 26 points and 7.1 rebounds per game this season while effectively shooting 53% from the field.
Boston Celtics Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Kemba Walker | Shooting Guard - Marcus Smart | Small Forward - Jayson Tatum | Power Forward - Semi Ojeleye | Center - Tristan Thompson.
Chicago Bulls Preview
The Chicago Bulls have struggled of late. Zach LaVine's absence from the lineup has hurt them down the stretch and the burden of scoring has fallen on the shoulders of Nikola Vucevic.
The Bulls haven't achieved what they set out to when they acquired Vucevic from the Orlando Magic. A high-scoring guard like LaVine and an incredible center like Vucevic should have made for a great combination. However, the Bulls are 4-9 since the 6-foot-11 center made his debut for the team and the coach evidently has a lot to figure out about rotations and strategies.
They face a tough and resilient Boston Celtics team on Monday, who have been on an incredible run of late and Billy Donovan and his men will have a tough time winning this one.
Key Player - Nikola Vucevic
Despite the team's losses, Nikola Vucevic has been balling out. He is averaging nearly 23 points and 10 rebounds a game while shooting 50% from the floor and a remarkable 46% from three. He hasn't scored below 20 points in all but three games for the Bulls and recorded his best game with 32 points and 16 rebounds against the Indiana Pacers.
Chicago Bulls Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Coby White | Shooting Guard - Garrett Temple | Small Forward - Patrick Williams | Power Forward - Nikola Vucevic | Center - Daniel Theis.
Bulls vs Celtics Match Prediction
The Boston Celtics have a better chance of grabbing the win on Monday. They are in exceptional form of late, and Zach LaVine's absence from the Chicago Bulls lineup tips the scales in their favor even further. Nikola Vucevic will be guarded by Tristan Thompson for the majority of the game and he should drop a big stat line. Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker are averaging great numbers and should combine for big numbers as well.
Where to watch the Bulls vs Celtics game?
The Chicago Bulls vs Boston Celtics game will be locally televised on NBC Sports Boston and NBC Sports Chicago. The game can also be streamed live with an NBA League Pass.