Kevin Garnett, like the rest of the NBA world, has been impressed by the Chicago Bulls and Derrick Rose this season. (ESPN Boston)
“Oh my God. Derrick Rose has taken probably 100 notches of a takeoff from where he started,” Garnett said. “Nothing has shocked me about anything he’s obtained. And the fact that he’s taken his team, put it on his back, his progression, the sense that he’s still humble to it all, the fact that he’s taken his team to the next level. Tom [Thibodeau] putting the guys around him, some quality guys, a good combination of not just good, but older vets, and some younger players around him.
“They look like they play really free minded and knowing Thibs and knowing how he is, I didn’t expect anything less than what he’s done. So yeah, I’m happy for Derrick, too. He’s one of my favorite guys to sit back and watch. A beast to play against, but [he's] one of my favorite guys [in] how he approaches the game.”
The Celtics will get a chance to knock off the Bulls and chop down some of their growing confidence tonight. Sadly, the East’s top seed probably isn’t up for grabs. With only five games to play, the Bulls are now three games ahead of Boston. That doesn’t mean the Celtics will approach tonight’s game like they approached the Bobcats game a week or so ago—or, in other words, like they’d just taken a tranquilizer dart to the jugular (“I like you, but you’re crazy”). (Boston Globe)
“It’s a different game against Chicago and Miami,’’ Rondo said. “Obviously, the intensity will be a lot greater. But in the playoffs it’ll definitely be a lot of intensity.’’. . .
“Just getting used to being in playoff-atmosphere settings,’’ Pierce said. “We’re playing in Chicago, that’s coming up with a lot on the line as far as seeds. Some guys haven’t been in a lot of big games. A lot of these guys have.
“So it puts you in those moments to where you can say this is the type of atmosphere that we will be in every night once the playoffs start. You don’t have a lot of games like that on the schedule. Chicago is one of them this week.’’
One aspect of a potential Bulls-Celtics playoff series? Tom Thibodeau should theoretically know everything the Celtics do; he should know the players’ strengths and weaknesses, the offensive sets, and the defensive schemes. In basketball, that shouldn’t matter as much as it would in, say, football. Most teams (probably not the Raptors) know all each other’s plays anyway; basketball’s about executing the plays, even when the opponent knows exactly what you’re running.
Still, Thibodeau’s knowledge of Boston could give Chicago an advantage—however slight or major—should the teams meet in the Eastern Conference Finals. Even if Thibodeau thinks (and he’s probably right) that Boston knows all Chicago’s stuff too. (Boston Globe)
“There’s not anything we’re doing that they don’t know,” he said. “There’s not anything that they’re doing that we don’t know. So it will come down to how well we can execute and how well they can execute. They’re the defending Eastern Conference champ and until somebody knocks them off, you gotta be ready to compete with them.”
Tonight should be fun.