The Chicago Bulls couldn't measure up to the defending champions in their last game. They're eager to see how they fare against one of the Eastern Conference's elite teams.
The Bulls were held to a season low in points while falling to the visiting Los Angeles Lakers 101-90 on Saturday. They'll host Boston on Monday.
"Very important how we respond," Bulls guard Zach LaVine said. "I think that's the main thing that we have to look forward to. This game's over with. We know what we did wrong. Now it's just not letting it happen again.
"You're going to be down in different games and you're not able to shoot the ball great, but you still have to be competitive and be in the game and give yourselves a chance to win in the end," he added. "I'm looking forward to this Boston game."
Chicago averaged 121.7 points in winning three straight games before Saturday's loss. The Lakers held them to 39.3 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers.
LaVine, as usual, led the Bulls in scoring with 21 points but shot 9-for-23 from the field. He's averaging 26.8 points per game.
"Every game, you're not going to go out there and make 30 assists or make 50 percent of your shots," LaVine said. "You've got to find other ways to get it done and still be in the game."
The Bulls will be looking to get off to a much better start against the Celtics. Chicago scored just 33 first-half points and trailed by 30 points at halftime to Los Angeles.
"I didn't think we played to our identity in that first half," Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. "We penetrated and charged too much. We didn't find open people when they were there. They were coming in and really protecting the paint. We had some turnovers, gave up some offensive rebounds. The first half, it wasn't who we've been."
Chicago was supposed to host Boston on Jan. 12, but that game was postponed when the Celtics were dealing with COVID-19 issues. LaVine averaged 32.5 points against Boston last season but the Celtics won both games.
The Celtics' leading scorer for much of the season, Jayson Tatum (26.9 points per game) could return to action on Monday. He hasn't played since Jan. 8 after being placed in the league's COVID-19 protocol list.
"He worked out each of the last couple days, worked out really hard [Saturday], actually got some up and down in with guys that didn't play [Friday against Philadelphia], and coaches," coach Brad Stevens said. "I anticipate he'll play."
Boston headed to Chicago after blasting Cleveland on Sunday, 141-103.
Jaylen Brown scored 33 points in just 19 minutes, and now leads the team at 27.3 ppg.
"He's constantly working to improve," Stevens said of Brown. "He doesn't play passive. And I think that his skill, his improvement and his aggressiveness are a good combination."
The lopsided score allowed Stevens to empty his bench and keep his team fresh for the second end of a back-to-back. No player saw more than 27 minutes of court time.
Little-used guard Carsen Edwards took advantage of extended playing time and tied his career high with 18 points in 19 minutes.
Seven of Boston's next eight games will be played on the road.
--Field Level Media