Celtics praise Rose's polished game


Celtics praise Rose's polished game

By A.Sherrod Blakely

CHICAGO Every time Derrick Rose went to the free throw line, the 'M-V-P' chants would begin.

Bulls fans aren't the only ones singing the praises of Rose, who delivered a dominating performance in leading Chicago to a 97-81 win over Boston.

Rose led all scorers with 30 points to go with eight assists and five rebounds.

"They're not chanting 'M-V-P' for nothing," said Boston's Kevin Garnett. "He's well deserving, how he's carried himself, how he's played. His play is doing all the talking."

And that play is screaming, ''You can't guard me'' to the Celtics and any other team that the Bulls have faced lately.

Delonte West was one of the Celtics defenders who spent some time Thursday trying to guard Rose.

West told CSNNE.com that he has noticed how Rose has become a more complete, all-around player.

"Before, he would just put his head down and just go to the basket," West told CSNNE.com. "But now . . . I remember one play on Thursday when he just pulled up for a long 3-pointer and made it. He didn't used to take that shot. If he starts taking that and making it, he becomes a really unstoppable player out there."

What has separated Rose from some of the other talented guards in the NBA, has been the combination of speed, strength, court vision and athleticism.

When you look at the NBA's top point guards, such as Rondo, Chris Paul in New Orleans, Deron Williams in New Jersey and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, they all have those qualities -- but few are as strong in all those areas like Rose.

And as good as he has been this season, he strikes you as a player who isn't completely satisfied with where he or his team is right now.

When asked if he thought the Bulls (58-20), in need of one win to clinch the top spot in the East, are playoff ready, Rose responded, "No. We still have a lot more games to go. We're just going to take advantage of it. Take advantage of every shootaround, every game we have left and try to keep this going."

To keep it going in the playoffs, there's a very good chance that these two teams might meet at some point in the postseason.

Rose has shown the Celtics that he does respect what they have done in recent years.

But there's no fear -- none at all.

"We know we can beat them," Rose said. "If anything, they just know that we're going to play hard. We're a team that's going to keep fighting."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Following Thursday’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Boston Celtics will be on the prowl to rebound – literally – from its first defeat of the season.

Because for all that did not go right in Thursday night’s loss, the way Boston was beaten on the boards stands out emphatically.

“They got 24 more shots than us. We only turned it over (12) times,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the loss. “So that’s the obvious place they’re getting their possessions, on the glass. That’s going to be the number one thing, that has been the number one thing. It’s something we’ve talked about. We have to get better at it.”


Boston was out-rebounded 55-36 on the boards which heavily factored into Chicago’s 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.

In the Celtics' 122-117 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday, Boston won the overall rebounding battle 47-44, but had just 12 offensive rebounds compared to Brooklyn's 15 offensive boards. Despite the close margin, the Nets won the battle on the offensive glass running away, outscoring the Celtics 23-13 in second-chance points.

Stevens decided to start Tyler Zeller ahead of Amir Johnson to begin the third quarter, hoping Zeller would be a better matchup on the glass than Johnson who did not grab a single rebound in the 11 minutes of court time he got in the first half.

While Zeller did do a few good things on the glass and scoring in half-court sets, it wasn’t enough to swing the momentum Chicago was steadily gaining due to its ability to control the boards.

“I wasn’t real surprised but at the same time I knew it could happen,” Zeller told reporters, referring to Stevens’ decision to have him start the second half. “They did a good job of coming out and setting the tone. They beat us up on the boards, especially the first half. It’s something we have to get better at and continue to grow at.”

And it’s not a one-player or one-position issue, either.

Usually we think of bigs when it comes to rebounding. But Boston’s guards need to step up their rebounding game as well.

The struggles thus far have to be put in the context of this being just two games, the latter being the season opener for the Bulls who were jacked up more than usual due to it being the first game for Chicago native Dwyane Wade and ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo.

“We have to focus on boxing out,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Guards have to do a better job. Guys like me, Al (Horford), Amir (Johnson), Tyler (Zeller) ... We have to do a good job of coming in the weak side and grabbing those; just focus on it, pay more attention to detail.”