The Celtics head to Chicago to play the Bulls on Thursday, marking a rematch of Sunday’s game in Boston. With Derrick Rose out of the lineup in that game, the C’s were able to come away with a 95-91 victory.
Without Rose, the Bulls never had a lead and were down by 14 at one point. Though the team has been able to surround him with talent, it’s clear that Rose is the engine that makes the Bulls go.
The top-seeded Bulls are actually 6-2 without Rose this season — five of the games came while he was recovering from turf toe — but the wins have come against Washington, Cleveland, Phoenix, Sacramento and Charlotte (twice). All of those teams have a losing record.
There are a handful of stars that are in the elite tier of indispensible players in the NBA. Rose is one of them, but is he the most indispensible?
In Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant hasn’t missed a game so far this season, although the Lakers have struggled at times. Bryant is averaging a league-high 28.7 points per game, and is playing over 38 minutes per game.
Despite the desire to be shipped out of Orlando, Dwight Howard has been putting up massive numbers again this year. In 38 minutes per game, he’s averaged 20.2 points and 15.2 rebounds per game on 55 percent shooting.
Since coming back from injury, Celtics captain Paul Pierce has rounded into form quickly, proving he’s still very much an offensive catalyst.
Chris Paul, Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron James have been putting up flashy numbers as well, leading their respective teams to solid seasons.