After riding pine for the last 11 games, the question on everyone’s mind is when will Derrick Rose return to the lineup?

The answer to me is simple: after Derrick Rose says he’s 100% better, keep him benched for two more games. The last thing you want is Derrick Rose missing time during the playoffs by re-aggravating his injury.

Without Derrick Rose, the Bulls play like a 7th or 8th seed at best. Playing at such a level, the Bulls can also expect a first round bounce. With Rose, however, the Bulls are arguably the best team in the league.

You don’t want to rest Rose until the playoffs though either. You need Rose and Hamilton to gel together on the floor a little bit. They need to get accustomed to one another.

At the start of the season though, before Rip got hurt for the first time, he made his presence on the court and in the Bulls offense known. The offense just flows so well when he’s moving without the ball and his passes are just downright great. Combine a healthy Rip and a healthy Rose and even the Thunder will have trouble running with the Bulls.

The Bulls are coming off a tough loss at home to Houston, and their first back to back loss of the season. Meanwhile the Celtics lost to the Spurs last night by one snapping a five game winning streak.

Rajon Rondo is having a great point guard season averaging 12.5 points, 5 rebounds and 11 assists per game, including a triple double against the Heat on Sunday. The last time the Celtics played the Bulls, Derrick Rose was out, and Rondo got 32 points, 15 assist and 10 rebounds. He has five triple doubles on the season.

Elsewhere on the Celtics, Paul Pierce just shared NBA Player of the Month honors with Kevin Durant. He’s averaging 19 points , 5.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game.

It’s evident the Celtics are trying to push for one last championship with their current roster. They are a team that is getting old, and presumably their last season as a complete team. There was a lot of talk that the Celtics were going to trade Rondo before the trade deadline, to prepare for future seasons, but I bet they’re glad they didn’t. They have one more chance, and they are a team that’s playing like it.

We will find out tonight at 8:30pm on TNT if game time decision Derrick Rose enters the starting lineup and gives the Celtics some trouble. If he decides he isn’t at 100% and sits another game, it will be the Celtics giving the Bulls trouble.

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