Saturday , Apr , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Derrick Rose on the Celtics: ‘We know we can beat them’

With Perkins gone, everything changed for the Celtics and they knew it: the toughness, the tenacity, the presence in the post. “He was tough,” Rose said. “We could defend on someone that was big. He was really tough to go around. … They’re different.”

Different doesn’t mean better. It means diminished. The Bulls beat the Celtics 44-22 in the paint, beat them badly on the boards, too. They assailed the Celtics the way the Celtics used to assail everyone else. “We know we can beat them,” Rose flatly said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Last night was the proof. It was the smoking gun, the bloody glove, and weapon of mass destruction all in one.

The Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls, two of the Eastern Conference’s premier teams, are moving in different directions. The Celtics are stumbling; the Bulls are soaring.

No other conclusion can be drawn from the Bulls’ decisive victory on Thursday in front of a national audience. The difference at point guard says everything.

After all, these teams live and die by their point guards, All-Star Rajon Rondo and MVP candidate Derrick Rose. As Rondo and Rose go, so goes the Celts’ and Bulls.

Rose soared last night, notching 30 points, 8 assists, and limiting Rondo’s effectiveness. There’s no longer any doubt he’s MVP worthy. His play clinched it.

Best of all, Rose spoke publicly of no longer fearing the Celtics, especially since they dealt defensive five Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Jeff Green.

Conversely, Rondo struggled. Mightily.

After getting outplayed, the Celtics’ floor general expressed doubt about his club’s ability to flip a switch ala 2010. He then requested a meeting with his coach, Glen ‘Doc’ Rivers.

Of course, the Celtics surprised everyone with last year’s run. Repeating such heroics seems unlikely –if their point guard and best player doesn’t believe.

–Oly Sandor.

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