Celtics backup point guard Keyon Dooling will sit out tonight’s game against the Bulls to rest a sore knee. Dooling said he felt OK but was not well enough to play in a basketball game today. He expects to return to the court sometime in the next few days, though he won’t make the trip to Indianapolis for tomorrow night’s game against the Pacers.
League MVP Derrick Rose just told the Globe’s Gary Washburn that he’s playing tonight. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said a few minutes earlier that Rose was probable tonight, depending on warm-ups. Expect to see him on the court.
“The core of the team is still intact, and that team is always going to be tough to beat,” said Thibodeau. “The adjustment is more with the new guys. As those guys get acclimated to what they’re doing, they’re going to be right there with everyone else.”
Thibodeau earned a reputation as an outstanding defensive coach during his time as a Celtics assistant, and he has his Bulls playing tenacious defense with younger bodies. Still, the coach praised the Celtics — and Paul Pierce in particular — for being experienced defenders who will turn it around.
“It’s a team that will put a lot of pressure on you,” said Thibodeau. “They’re going to be tough.”
Thibodeau also praised Rajon Rondo, calling him “an offense unto himself.”
— Celtics center Jermaine O’Neal will play tonight, according to Celtics coach Doc Rivers. O’Neal sat out of Thursday’s practice.