The Celtics will likely be without guard Avery Bradley as they host the Bulls on Friday night. Coach Doc Rivers said he doesn’t think Bradley will play, though he wasn’t sure who would start in his place. “A whole host of guys,” Rivers said. The Celtics had gone 6-2 since Bradley’s return from shoulder surgeries, gaining a boost on the defensive end that resulted in the Celtics allowing just less than 87 points per game.
The Bulls, already missing Derrick Rose, gave Luol Deng the start, despite his recent right hamstring ailment. Deng is leading the team with 17.8 points per game.
UPDATE, 6:52 p.m.: Now it’s official. Bradley will not play and guard Leandro Barbosa will take his place. The 30-year-old Barbosa scored 17 points in his only start of the season Nov. 15 against the Nets.
BOSTON CELTICS (20-18)
PG Rajon Rondo
SG Leandro Barbosa
SF Paul Pierce
PF Brandon Bass
C Kevin Garnett
CHICAGO BULLS (22-15)
PG Kirk Hinrich
SG Richard Hamilton
SF Luol Deng
PF Carlos Boozer
C Joakim Noah
Officials: Marc Davis, Sean Corbin, Eli Roe
TV/Radio: 7:00 p.m. ESPN / Comcast SportsNet / WEEI
• The Bulls are one of the NBA’s best rebounding teams, rakning seventh in rebound rate, hauling in 51.8 percent of missed shots. Noah and Boozer each rank among the league’s 12 best rebounders, averaging 10.7 and 9.7 per game, respectively. Cue Jarred Sullinger.
• After the Hornets were sent to the free-throw line 31 times, compared to 16 times for the Celtics, on Wednesday night, Rivers has emphasized the importance of driving the ball more, as opposed to settling for some jump shots that the coach didn’t approve of. “We have to drive to finish and get to the basket.” Rivers said. “Earlier in the year we were getting to the foul line and we were the same team.”
• Rivers said Chris Wilcox (sprained right thumb) will again dress for the game, though he couldn’t say if the center would play.
• Rivers had dinner with Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau Thursday night in Boston for Thibodeau’s 55th birthday. Rivers said he paid. “I said your team is pretty good without Derrick,” Rivers said. “That’s No. 1, but he is their best player. And when you take their best player off the team and they’re still doing what they’re doing, that says a lot about [Thibodeau]. His intensity and his belief that they’re going to win, with a man down, has to spill over to them. And I think they feel that.”