Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics
- The Bulls have taken two of the three games in this series so far in 2012-13. In the last meeting on January 18, Marco Belinelli hit a fadeaway jumper with :03 remaining in overtime to give the Bulls a 100-99 victory.
- The Bulls have allowed 100 or more points in three of their last four games. They gave up 100+ points in just 10 of their first 47 games.
- Boston's 94-91 defeat at the hands of the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday was its first since Rajon Rondo went down with a potentially season-ending knee injury on January 25 (7-1). However, the Celtics still have an active six-game home win streak.
- Kirk Hinrich (elbow) will miss his seventh straight game. The Bulls are 2-4 in the previous six games without him (they are 4-7 overall when he hasn't played this season). Nate Robinson has replaced Hinrich in the starting lineup, averaging 17.2 points and 8.3 assists with a 5:1 A/TO ratio in these six contests.
- Although Luol Deng has had a double-double in four of his eight games since returning to action on January 28, he is struggling with his shot, making just 35.0 (43/123) percent of his field-goal attempts since that date.
- Paul Pierce has had nine straight games with at least 12 points, four rebounds and four assists. That is the longest active streak in the NBA.
By ALAN FERGUSON
(AP) -- The Boston Celtics were performing surprisingly well without All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo - their last game notwithstanding - but have now lost another member of their backcourt.
The Chicago Bulls are having their own problems staying healthy.
After losing a third player to a season-ending injury in less than a month, the Celtics will try to bounce back from their first defeat in more than two weeks Wednesday night against a Bulls team seeking its eighth victory in the last 10 games in the series.
Boston (27-24) had won seven in a row - its longest streak in two seasons - after losing Rondo to a torn right ACL on Jan. 27. That run ended Monday with a 94-91 road loss Charlotte, owner of the league's worst record.
Even worse, the Celtics lost Leandro Barbosa to a torn left ACL. The team announced Tuesday the backup guard, who has seen increased playing time since Rondo's injury, was done for the season.
Earlier this month, Boston lost first-round draft pick and reserve forward Jared Sullinger for the rest of 2012-13 because of lumbar disk surgery.
"We're falling like flies right now," Kevin Garnett said Monday. "Obviously, it's tough. It's tough all the way around."
If any team can relate to Boston's injury woes, it's Chicago. The Bulls (30-21) have had every starter except Richard Hamilton out of action at various times over the past 3 1/2 weeks - and Hamilton missed 12 December games with a foot sprain.
That list doesn't even include 2011 MVP Derrick Rose, who is still trying to come back from his own torn ACL. The Bulls were hopeful their point guard could be back after the All-Star break but while he didn't rule that out, Rose told USA Today in an interview posted Tuesday that he thought his return was "far away."
Making it worse on Chicago is that his replacement, Kirk Hinrich, has an ailing right elbow and has missed the past six contests. The Bulls have gone 2-4 in those games, which also includes games missed by Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and key reserve Marco Belinelli.
The Bulls are coming off Monday's 103-89 loss to visiting San Antonio, and they didn't help themselves by giving up 29 points off 19 turnovers. The miscues were their most since they had 21 in a 100-99 overtime win at Boston on Jan. 18, the most recent matchup between the teams.
"We didn't play smart, turned the ball over way too much," said Noah, who had 15 rebounds and seven points in his third game back from plantar fasciitis. "We're not playing good basketball right now. We're on top of each other offensively and we're not trusting each other defensively. We know we're more than capable of playing better."
Another absence from Hinrich, who isn't traveling to Boston, could make it difficult for Chicago to add to its 7-2 mark in its last nine games against the Celtics. The Bulls earned their latest win in the series when Belinelli made an off-balance fadeaway jumper with 3.1 seconds left.
Hamilton had a team-best 20 points in that one and Boozer totaled 19 points and a season-high 20 rebounds, the fourth double-double in his last five games against Boston.
While the Bulls could be short-handed again, the loss of Rondo might hurt even more for Boston as he was averaging 25.3 points in this season's three matchups, nearly twice as many as any other teammate.
The Celtics and Bulls have split their last six games at the TD Garden, but Boston has won a season-best six straight there since a loss to New York on Jan. 24.
Updated February 12, 2013