Originally written on Celtics Town  |  Last updated 11/18/14

Earlier today, one bit of news simultaneously hurt Boston’s chances of pulling back to .500 and built the stage for a meeting that could be monumental. Derrick Rose told ESPN’s John Buccigross he will play tonight against the Celtics. His presence makes Chicago considerably more formidable, as the presence of a defending MVP normally does, but it also allows us to gauge the Celtics against the team that has played better than any other in the Eastern Conference, at full strength.

The Celtics are also at full strength, thanks to the addition of Mickael Pietrus, whose debut fashioned considerable impact despite a stat line — five points, two steals, one rebound, zero assists, 1-4 on threes, 2-5 from the field — that suggested otherwise. Pietrus’ play inspired Boston. It allowed fans to look at a lineup that included Avery Bradley and Keyon Dooling — a backcourt capable of causing nightmares (or bricks, in Bradley’s case) to rain down on Faneuil Hall — and see potential for a crew that can apply pressure 94 feet from the basket, force turnovers and turn them into easy baskets.

Pietrus defended smaller players full court. He dealt with Lamar Odom in the post. He took a charge underneath the hoop after Brandon Bass got stuck fronting his man. He picked an opponent’s pocket and strode in for a rim-rattling dunk. But mostly, he helped because his style meshed with Boston’s second unit. The bench transformed in one night from a formless blob into a crew with an identity, a pesky, quick, hard-nosed defensive group that wants to bother opponents and force them out of their offensive game plan. That Pietrus can shoot is an extra, one the Celtics need, but his willingness to play defense in his opponents’ jock strap for 94 feet is why he could change the entire face of Boston’s second unit.

(Note: Pietrus also missed a miserable 27-foot three that came with the Celtics down four in the fourth quarter and charging. I saw it. But let’s not discuss that. STAY POSITIVE, PEOPLE!)

Boston could use a win. Leaving the TD Garden tonight at 4-6, on a three-game losing skid (all at home), without a single win this season against above-.500 teams, would not be a good look. But clawing to .500, against the Eastern Conference’s best team so far, would.

Rajon Rondo vs. Derrick Rose. Tom Thibodeau against his old mates. The Celtics attempting to push fans away from the ledge. The Bulls trying to keep the good times rolling.

This one could be fun. Or, it could be the latest painful chapter in a book that hasn’t started nearly the right way.

(Editor’s note: I’m covering a high school game tonight for my local newspaper, so the recap will be posted a little late.)


Report: No NFL team is moving to Los Angeles in 2015

Report: 49ers looking for young, offensive mind as next coach

Sheldon Richardson: I'm on the same level as JJ Watt

Kendrick Perkins: Rajon Rondo wanted out of Boston

Report: Jim Harbaugh being encouraged to take Michigan job

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason


Wolves trade Corey Brewer to the Rockets

Yankees trade Prado to Marlins for Eovaldi in 5-player deal

Brandon Browner fined $8K for throwing Brandon Gibson to turf

Report: Sharper, NFLers called spiked drinks 'horny juice'

Rex Ryan: My wife could coach Tom Brady

Jim Harbaugh won in laser tag by 'hunting' 10-year-old kid

Peyton Siva jokes that Rick Pitino is in the mob

WATCH: Montrezl Harrell ejected for throwing punch

UNC wearing Jordan-era throwback uniforms

Brian Kelly: Justin Brent gets 'distracted,' is in my doghouse

Five free agent signings that should happen in 2015

Reporter asks Rajon Rondo awkward question about trade

Video: Swaggy P elbows Steven Adams in throat, gets ejected

Video: Grizzlies buy car for assistant who had his stolen

Video: LeBron takes pass to the face from Dion Waiters

New video of Ray Rice incident emerges

President Obama calls James Franco “James Flacco”

NBA games of the weekend: Rondo's Dallas debut, Bulls-Grizz

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

No NFL team in LA next season?

UNC rocking Jordan-era throwbacks

Reporter asks Rondo awkward question

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Jon Lester and the Cubs

Report: NFL players used 'horny juice'

Top 10 worst NBA related commercials of all-time

Phelps gets probation for DUI

NFL coaches on hot seat in Week 16

The Roy Williams-Terrell Owens horse collar turns 10

Most underpaid NFL players in 2014

Gronk jokes about Brady compliment

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.