The Rose-less Bulls were beat pretty soundly in Memphis on Monday afternoon. Not that surprising a result, though maybe the degree of beating was, especially on the boards.
Sam Smith credits some lucky shooting from Memphis, though even he admits that was only part of the problem. Having point guards like Lucas, Watson, and Josh Selby out there no doubt added to the turnovers being so high for both teams. That, and playing at noon.
After a brief reprieve, the fact that Boozer and Noah didn't play 4th again while the Bulls staged a rally is still an issue. And it is, really. Funnily enough, another coach on Monday, Flip Saunders, invoked the Bulls benching strategy as a positive. It's a nice option for a good and deep team like the Bulls, but that it's borne out of necessity from poor play from Boozer (though he started out OK in the 1 quarter I saw Monday) and Noah is the actual issue. And we should have higher standards than the Wizards.
But back to that another day (maybe tonight!). The story is Derrick Rose's toe injury that he played through the weekend but wouldn't allow him to go in Memphis. Rose in his own words:
Rose tested his sprained big left toe during warm-ups and replied "6 or 7" when asked to rate his pain on a 1-10 scale. "Almost every game, I jam it," Rose said. "The way that I play and push off, it hurts. I'm kind of irritated. I want it to go away. But it always finds its way back."
KC Johnson reported that Rose is having bad reactions to the pain medication which is hampering his ability to recover, and the Bulls may hold him out for Tuesday night's home game against Phoenix.
Nick Friedell suggests that with the relatively easy upcoming schedule, it may come to management stepping in with a new recovery timetable that involves missing more games. As we know, Rose himself is Mr. Tough Guy and says that it's "his decision" whether to play or not.
(I believe such pieces like that are meant to make Rose seem admirable, how he 'fumes' at sitting and is willing to risk further injury to play the next game...but it also makes him look kinda silly.)
I don't even quite trust Thibs to make the call, since it sounds like if Rose says he's available to play, Thibs considers him fully 100% to handle a full workload. Against Toronto on Saturday night the Bulls had a 13-15 point lead for the entire final 6 minutes (again, against Toronto) and Rose played the entire time.
The good and timely news from Monday is that CJ Watson not only returned, but played well. Thibodeau had originally said that Watson couldn't return until the Bulls had a practice/shootaround so Watson could test his elbow, but reportedly Watson played some 3-on-3 on Sunday. And I wouldn't be surprised that seeing Rose not playing had Thibs reconsider his guidelines. Everything looked good for Watson though, and it's very fortunate that if Rose needs to miss more time that he's there to pick up some of those minutes from John Lucas III.
Oh, and you can go through all those links and nobody seems to know anything on Rip Hamilton. Rumor had it he was a shooting guard acquisition for the Bulls this offseason, but I'm trying to find confirmation.
- Rose was announced as a finalist for Team USA, the squad eventually heading to the London Olympics. Compounded with this injury news it's tempting to wish he didn't go, like Windy Citizen tries to do here, but it's just not realistic.
- Power Rankings came out Monday. They're mostly pointless, but with the Bulls at #1, maybe we should enjoy it before a potentially Rose-less week knocks them down a peg or four: SBNation | ProBasketballTalk | ESPN.com | NBA.com. Sam Smith had them at #2. Boo.
- Really random report (and credit to PBT for finding it) has Mitch Lawrence from the NY Daily News citing sources that say Tom Thibodeau is "is not very happy that the team hasn't discussed his future". Thibs has a team option for next year that hasn't been picked up yet. Seems like it'll be a formality, so the intriguing thing is if Thibs is genuinely upset. Ooh, maybe he's pulling a VDN-Noah with having Rose play on a bad toe. Nah. Maybe. [This is all very odd. Personal, factless guess: Thibs' people are leaking this -- whether true or not -- because they don't want the Bulls to pick up the option, but to instead craft a new, more lucrative, longer term deal. Remember that William Wesley's people are Thibs' people and that would be a very CAA thing to do. Just sayin'. -Alex]