Derrick Rose Set to Return in Celtics vs Bulls Tonight?
Back-to-back loses have put the second-seeded Miami Heat just two games behind the Eastern Conference leading Chicago Bulls. Luckily, there’s help on the way, as it appears reigning MVP Derrick Rose is ready to return to the starting lineup tonight when the Bulls host the Boston Celtics.
According to reports, Rose is listed as a game-time decision, but his chances of playing are pretty good, our sources say. The 3-time NBA All-Star has missed a total of 11 games due to a lingering groin injury. Rose participated in full team practices on Wednesday, but was hesitant to announce his return tonight.
“I really don’t know. I felt good, but me playing tomorrow, I don’t know,” he said. “I’m able to run a little bit more, but not at my top speed.”
Although the Bulls are 7-4 in his absence, they’re coming off back-to-back loses with the surging Heat stepping on their heels. Chicago simply cannot afford to lose another game, with Miami only one game back in the loss column. With less than a month remaining in the regular season, this is no time for letdowns if this team wants to have any shot of reaching the NBA Finals.
“Right now I’m disappointed in the way our team is playing,” said Bulls coach Tom 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.”
For the Atlantic Division-leading Celtics, seedings is also very important at this point in the season. If the playoff started today, Boston would be fourth seed and would face a very stiff challenge in the first round against the Orlando Magic. But unlike the Bulls, this team appears to be peaking at the right time.
The C’s are 7-3 for their last 10 games, including a 91-72 destruction of the Miami Heat. They followed that effort by almost coming all the way from 17 points down to beat the West’s second seeded, San Antonio Spurs. With a chance to be the hero, Paul Pierce just couldn’t come through in what would’ve been the game-winner at the buzzer.
“I think I got to a good place. Just missed the shot,” he said. “These things are not really pre-scripted. You get into pressure situations, sometimes they make and sometimes they don’t.”