Bulls vs. Celtics — 8:30pm on TNT
The Bulls news coming out of Chicago the last 24 hours has been heavily Derrick Rose centric. First we got a breakthrough, Rose practiced yesterday and absorbed a full contact routine.
He knocked everyone down a few pegs by saying he would still need to condition himself before fully making a return to the lineup. But that doesn’t rule him out for tonight’s ūber-matchup against the Celtics.
“His speed and quickness looked really good,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “It was very encouraging.”
Encouraging is the perfect word to describe Rose’s progress. He’s still not 100 percent confident in his ability to go full force but he’ll quickly shake that notion when it comes down to gametime.
Further encouragement was had this morning when Rose was ruled, for the first time in weeks, as a game time decision. This doesn’t mean he’s going to play and if you believed him when he said he needs to get back into the flow of things first.
But the Bulls are usually a creative team and don’t be surprised if Rose plays but doesn’t start against Boston. He might see light minutes to see what his groin can take in a real game situation (and a playoff situation no less). BUt then again Thibodeau is very protective of his superstar and won’t put him in if he’s not 100percent ready.
Rose’s return couldn’t come at a more desperate time for the Bulls. The Heat now sit just two games behind them and can pass them as son as Sunday afternoon. Chicago has dropped two straight games — something that hadn’t happened in 86 games.
“Right now I’m disappointed in the way our team is playing,” Thibodeau said. “One thing I know about this league is that things change quickly. … We have Boston coming in who is playing great basketball. Every night you have to be ready to fight.”
Boston is not going to lie down either. Not only are they fighting for playoff thirds, they aren’t forgiving of how the Bulls dethroned them in the regular season last year and aren’t going to do them any favors.
Tonight is a massive game for the Bulls as after this they’ll only have ten left. As the Heat get closer and closer, every game is a must win if Chicago wants to make a serious run at a title.