Only thing that mattered tonight was that the Bulls won. Didn't matter how they did it so long as they did it. Thankfully, they did just that and took care of the Atlanta Hawks by a score of 91-85. Realistically, the Hawks had very little incentive to win as they probably preferred to see Chicago on the opposite side of the playoff bracket. However, the big story isn't clinching the No. 3 seed. No, it's that Derrick Rose did not play in the second half and that there was virtually no update on his status.
Suppose we must still go through what actually happened in the game, so we'll talk about the only half of basketball which featured players you'll actually see play in the playoffs.
Atlanta opened up the game on a 10-2 run with the Bulls doing their part by shooting 1-7, committing four turnovers and messing up two alley-oop attempts over the span of said run. Remarkably, it reached a moment where it was unclear whether the Bulls were going to score more points (9) or commit more turnovers (7) as late as the 3:06 mark in the first. If there were any positive to glean from a putrid quarter of basketball, it was that Pau Gasol received a breather far earlier than he normally does as he exited at the 4:25 mark instead of playing the entire frame. Guess Tom Thibodeau wanted Gasol rested for Washington's sturdy front court, just in case? Or maybe this was a mandate from the organization to rest Pau regardless (except he played the entire second quarter anyway)? Drama!
Then as the game progress, Nikola Mirotic played in his natural position and promptly destroyed people. Trying to recall a certain motion pertaining to a certain lineup...ah, yes...ban the jumbo lineup. We must also give credit to Aaron Brooks as well, though. Brooks brought a level of intensity, as did Mirotic, that the Bulls desperately needed upon entering the game.
By halftime, the Bulls were pretty fortunate to be down by seven points considering they finished the first half with more turnovers (14) than they did assists (9). Although, Atlanta didn't play particularly well, either. They shot miserably from three and also had problems of their own with turnovers. All told, safe to say both these teams are ready for the playoffs.
In the second half, Rose started on the bench. He did not return to the game. No word on whether or not the benching was due to play -- he was god awful in the first half -- or something injury related. The closest thing we got to an in-game update was this:
@SBN_Ricky Um, he's not coming back in. If he's on the bench, though, I'm not worried about anything serious.— jon greenberg (@jon_greenberg) April 16, 2015
Taj Gibson, however, did leave due to injury as he'd been battling a sore shoulder recently. Just when we thought the Bulls were finally going to be healthy heading into the postseason, they fell apart right before our very eyes. Or maybe they didn't. We just don't know what the hell is going on with Rose.
All in all, something felt really weird about the way this game was managed by Thibs. Gasol rested earlier than normal. Jimmy Butler got rest in the second half. Rose didn't return to the game, stayed on the bench and yet we weren't updated on his status. And although injuries forced his hand, Nazr Mohammed and E'Twaun Moore got minutes in the fourth quarter.
I mean, tip of the hat to Brooks, Butler and Gasol. Felt they all played with a lot of heart tonight. Glad the team won and all. Glad that they're playing the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs rather than the Washington Wizards. But what's it matter if the Bulls are going to be without Rose? I know this feeling all too well. The feeling of not knowing is truly the worst.
Derrick Rose didn't play because he had a little bit of soreness, Thibodeau said. Wanted to "play it safe."— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) April 16, 2015
I feel better.
UPDATE PART DEUX:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>Rose: "It is nothing serious at all. I'm just being cautious and resting it."</p>— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) <a href="https://twitter.com/KCJHoop/status/588538248080789504">April 16, 2015</a></blockquote>
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The man himself says stuff.