So, how about that Thunder game, huh? That was something so brutal it kind of defies analysis, though we tried. And the fact that it was a 30-point deficit with the benches emptied for the entire 4th quarter ruins most of the game stats as well. Maybe that's for the best? On the one hand, there's perhaps something to be said for how the Thunder offense was able to convert the shots the Bulls wanted them to take (mid-range jumpers) and then some, and their ability to capitalize on the athleticism advantage they possess.
Then again, that gap (and Westbrook's dominance specifically) is directly tied to Derrick Rose's availability. I don't think Rose is an overall better defender than CJ Watson, but Watson is still a bit gimpy and he can't apply pressure with his offense the way Derrick can. It's not news that the MVP would change things, nor that I guess the Bulls can't really win a title without him. If we're feeling really cheeky, we can toss out this loss with the Miami win where John Lucas went bonkers as flukey flukes. Seems even.
Even more of a bummer is the fact that we don't really know what's going on with Derrick's return. Part of it is the nature of the injury, part of it is Thibodeau making the phrase 'game-time decision' a joke, and Rose's return (and to what degree) is starting to become one of those things we'll just have to see to believe.
The subject of all our hopes and fears did speak about it on Sunday. In an quick interview that aired during the game, Rose endured the fumes from Ric Bucher's tan lotion and hairspray to say he was hoping to try to come back this week, leading to Bucher's speculation using the Bulls upcoming schedule to suggest Rose could play Thursday.
But then after the game Rose was asked point-blank whether he would play at all the rest of the season, and Derrick didn't give a definite 'yes'. Here's the video (WARNING: he says nice things about Russell Westbrook).
Of course, a Rose 'guarantee' to that question would sound silly too. The point is more that nobody really knows, and even if they did they'd probably lie to us about it.
In a related story, Rip Hamilton also has been rumored to play professional basketball.