National Basketball Association
Preview
Chicago at Boston
When: 8:30 PM ET, Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

The Boston Celtics have turned the tables on the Chicago Bulls in their Eastern Conference first-round series and look to become the first home team to win a game when the teams return to TD Garden for Game 5 on Wednesday. All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas, whose playoff experience has been dominated by the grief of losing his sister in a car accident prior to the series, had his best game of the set with 33 points in Boston's 104-95 win in a Game 4 equalizer on Sunday.

It was a chippy affair that Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg punctuated with a claim that Thomas carries the ball repeatedly, but Boston's floor general was unfazed by the criticism and seems to have his swagger back. "Not one man can guard me," Thomas told reporters Sunday. "And that's just the confidence I have, but also my coaching staff and my teammates put me in position to be successful." The Celtics' back-to-back wins in Chicago came after Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo was sidelined with a fractured thumb, although the former Boston star has shed his cast and could potentially return for a Game 6 or Game 7. After shooting 46.7 percent and averaging 25 assists in two wins at Boston, Chicago dipped to 40.1 percent with 16.5 assists in the two games without Rondo at home.

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT, CSN Chicago, CSN New England (Boston)

ABOUT THE BULLS: While the team waits on a possible Rondo return, Isaiah Canaan will be thrust into the starting lineup for Game 5 after emerging to score 13 points in 34 minutes of Sunday's loss. "It really tests your mental part of basketball," Canaan told reporters when asked about being inactive for the first three games and watching many regular-season games from the sideline. "Our job is to play, whenever it may be. It may be the first 10 games of the season. It may be the last 10 games. Everybody on this team wants to play, and you can only have five out there. So whenever your name is called, you've got to be ready to go, no matter when it is." Jimmy Butler scored a team-high 33 points with nine assists and one turnover in Game 4, attempting 23 free throws one game after failing to get to the line.

ABOUT THE CELTICS: Coach Brad Stevens' decision to go small - including the insertion of Gerald Green into the starting lineup - has transformed the series. Green scored 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting to go along with seven rebounds in Game 4 while regular starter Amir Johnson did not see a single minute of action. Aside from Green, the Celtics were 6-for-28 from long range and Thomas has made just 4-of-21 over his last three games, although he carved up the Bulls with dribble penetration and a string of tough layups in Game 4.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Butler averaged 26 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.5 steals in the two wins at Boston.

2. Celtics C Kelly Olynyk hit all four of his shot attempts in Game 4 and is 4-for-7 from 3-point range over the past three contests.

3. Chicago is 72-for-85 at the foul line in the series. Boston is 48-for-67.

PREDICTION: Celtics 109, Bulls 100
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Chicago 43-43 L2 25-18 18-25 4-6 39-37 9-7 30-26
Boston 55-31 W2 30-13 25-18 5-4 50-27 11-5 38-18
Last Meeting
Chicago Boston
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
4/23/17 BOS 104 CHI 95 95 44 42.1 104 42 46.3
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Chicago J. Butler 33 43.8 19
Boston I. Thomas 33 47.6 12
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Chicago B. Portis 8 1 7
Boston A. Horford 12 1 11
Assists Player  
Chicago J. Butler 9
Boston I. Thomas 7
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Chicago J. Butler 1980 44.9 650
Boston I. Thomas 2363 46.3 636
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Chicago R. Lopez 590 289 301
Boston A. Horford 532 107 425
Assists Player  
Chicago R. Rondo 515
Boston I. Thomas 483
Quickchart Matchup
Chicago Chicago Off vs  Boston Boston Defense
Chicago Off vs Boston - Points For 102.7 Points For
Chicago Off vs Boston - Points Against 105.1 Points Against
Chicago - FG% 44.3 FG%
Boston - FG% 45.0 FG%
Chicago - Reb 46.4 Reb
Boston - Reb 44.7 Reb
Boston Boston Off vs  Chicago Chicago Defense
Boston Off vs Chicago - Points For 107.7 Points For
Boston Off vs Chicago - Points Against 102.4 Points Against
Boston - FG% 45.4 FG%
Chicago - FG% 45.6 FG%
Boston - Reb 41.8 Reb
Chicago - Reb 43.0 Reb