Celtics try to regain footing at home vs. Bulls

Boston Celtics practice report Trust issues still holding Celtics back

As banged up as they are without the help of starters Kris Dunn (left MCL sprain) and Lauri Markkanen (right elbow sprain), as well as key reserves Bobby Portis (right MCL sprain) and Denzel Valentine (left ankle sprain), the Bulls can't afford to play soft.

Marcus Smart made multiple comments aimed at lighting a fire under his teammates while Kyrie Irving made headlines when he commented that the Celtics needed to add a veteran presence to their locker room.

After a disjointed preseason, uneven start to the regular season, and a 1-4 road trip packed with fits and starts, the return home Tuesday night after two days off against the also-ran Chicago Bulls was the ideal time for the Celtics to begin resembling the team that was supposed to be the one to beat in the Eastern Conference this season. However, as the team prepares to play the Bulls Wednesday, it feels like the pieces aren't in place yet.

"Once we hit a couple shots, I thought we felt a lot better about ourselves", coach Brad Stevens said.

"We are all relatively young". For a team with championship aspirations, that's not going to be good enough.

Draymond Green and Kevin Durant have shown us that frustrations boil over on teams.

Hayward realizes he's part of the problem and told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe he'd come off the bench if that would help. At the very least, it would have been understandable for his comments to have been taken as such.

Brown finished the night as Boston's leading scorer, with 18 points in 25 minutes.

Irving has bounced back quickly, while Hayward's progress has been slower after he missed all but five minutes of last season. Hayward is not all the way back yet: 9.9 points per game shooting below 40 percent overall and 31.9 percent from three, with a below-league-average PER of 12.9.

Coming into the game, Chicago Bulls guard, Zach LaVine looked to push his streak of 20 or more points to 16 games.

"We were prepared. I think that we've been prepared other games but we've got to match that with the attitude and effort to execute on both ends", Irving said.

In the seven games the Bulls have played in November, LaVine is still averaging over 23.4 points per game, but he's shooting 36.8 percent from the field and just 24.4 percent from 3-point range.

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