Five Things to Watch: Bulls host Celtics in Game 3 tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls host Celtics in Game 3 tonight on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Boston Celtics tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. And be sure to stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live-streaming coverage of the Bulls.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Stay hot at home. Yes, the Bulls took care of business in Boston in ways they didn’t even think possible, according to Dwyane Wade. But they still need to grab one of these games at home. The good news is the Bulls had won six of seven to finish out the regular season. That means something, especially in a playoff game where they’re favored over the top-seeded Celtics.

2. Beware a team in desperation. The Bulls have outclassed the Celtics for the first two games of the series and they look like the far-and-away better team right now. But just as the Bulls would have come out with some fire if they were trailed 2-0, the Celtics will be ready. They know a 3-0 deficit would be a death sentence, and there’s too much talent here for them to go down quietly.

3. The Jimmy Butler Show. It’s going to be a thing to watch every game this series. It can’t be overstated how much Jimmy Butler has meant to this Bulls team. He’s the best player in this series and is the reason the Bulls have stolen the first two games of this series. There’s not a whole lot to analyze here: sit back, relax, and enjoy watching Butler dominate for 48 minutes.

4. Robin Lopez owning the paint. One could argue Robin Lopez has been the second best player for the Bulls, and with the Celtics perhaps going with a small-ball lineup in Game 3 to space the floor offensively, it could open up even more rebounding lanes for Lopez. As crazy as it sounds, Lopez could be the key to Game 3 so the Celtics can’t simply go small all night.

5. Rajon Rondo Revenge Tour. Don’t be surprised to see Rondo nab a triple-double tonight. Dude is all sorts of locked in and the Celtics have no real answer for him, unless they put Avery Bradley on him. In that case, Dwyane Wade would have freedom to go up against Isaiah Thomas. Instead, expect Rondo to keep getting in the paint at will and find open shooters and cutters. Brad Stevens’ adjustment to Rondo’s playmaking will dictate how the series goes.

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Rajon Rondo declares himself out for Bulls-Celtics Game 5

Rajon Rondo declares himself out for Bulls-Celtics Game 5

BOSTON — Rajon Rondo is out tonight for Game 5 of the Bulls’ series against the Boston Celtics and if he is to be believed, an appearance in Game 6 or 7 doesn’t seem likely because “my finger is broken.”

If he is to be believed.

Rondo threw cold water on the report that he had a “secret workout” in the attempt to get back on the floor for Game 5 at TD Garden, saying he went to work on his floaters because he airballed one in practice Tuesday.

“No I’m not playing. I got an X-ray yesterday. The thumb is still the same. It’s still broke,” Rondo said. “I knew last week it wasn’t going to be fixed in a week. My finger is broken.”

Rondo being without a cast on his right hand was due to the wrist injury he suffered in the last remaining games of the regular season, when he tore ligaments and missed a few games.

Knowing his history of playing on a torn ACL and injured forearm, the expectation was that Rondo could find a way to play through the pain — which makes his words hard to completely take a face value, given the hard sell he presented to reporters.

“My thumb is the same as it was last week,” Rondo said. “I think I’m Wolverine but it hasn’t healed that quickly yet.”

As he reiterated time and time again, “my thumb is broken,” a statement he made almost incredulously considering the thought he could come back in a relatively quick time considering this injury occurred in Game 2.

And while the thumb is no longer discolored and looks to be close to its usual form, he still has to use a big cast on it and even when he practiced yesterday with the team he was using a lot of his left hand, according to people who were in attendance.

“Nothing. I can still dribble without it,” Rondo said. “Basic dribbling. But it’s still a big part of my game. I have a big cast on it while I’m playing so it’s not really effective.”

If he does decide to get out there in a clinching Game 6, he could risk further injury to his thumb, and due to the break occurring on the tip of his thumb, he can’t numb it up with a shot or a general painkiller.

He would have to have a wrap on it, and given the high stakes it would be a target for the Celtics players to slap at it to further injure it.

“I’m not worried about somebody else slapping it,” Rondo said. “I’m worried about the way I play — diving on the floor, trying to get my hand in on loose balls. I play on instincts. I can’t go in there with my finger tucked and trying to steal the ball. The game doesn’t work like that.”

“My finger is broke. I can’t go out there without anything. The slightest fall on the floor might further damage it. If I was to go out Game 7, 8, 9, I would probably have a wrap. I finished the game. My finger was broke in the third quarter.

“I can affect the game in different ways. But obviously the scouting report would be different, how they would play me. I might get hacked a couple times on the right side of my body. It could affect the entire hand. If I play, that won’t be my concern.”

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg seemed pretty amazed at the speculation that lasted all of 10 hours as the possibility of Rondo playing began to grow by the hour, but still calls it a “longshot”.

“He still has a broken bone in his thumb. He’s got a significant amount of swelling and he’s got a lot of soreness. So he’s out tonight,” Hoiberg said. “He is trying to increase his activity just in case by doing some extra running, and [Tuesday] was actually the first day he touched a ball with his right hand, so again, like I said [Tuesday[, it is a longshot.”

Fast Break Morning Update: White Sox crush Royals; Cubs shutout Pirates; Bulls battle Celtics tonight on CSN

Fast Break Morning Update: White Sox crush Royals; Cubs shutout Pirates; Bulls battle Celtics tonight on CSN

Here are some of the top Chicago sports stories from Tuesday: 

Five Things To Watch: Bulls battle Celtics in pivotal Game 5 on CSN

Preview: Cubs aim for sweep tonight on CSN

Three more hits for Leury Garcia as White Sox pound Royals

Kyle Hendricks outduels Gerrit Cole in Cubs win

Rajon Rondo return seems possible for Game 5

Clemson's Deshaun Watson is the one situation where a Bears reach has epic upside

Blackhawks make another change, fire Rockford coach Ted Dent

NBA Buzz: Time for Fred Hoiberg to make adjustments for the Bulls

Duke chatter unlikely to stop, but newly extended Chris Collins wants to be at Northwestern: 'There's no reason for me to look elsewhere'

Teammates see Mike Glennon taking command of Bears offense