Bulls at Cavaliers 6:30pm on CSN - Rose a gametime decision

Derrick Rose will travel with the team, but he's a game time decision for tonight's tilt against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs, expected to be one of the worst teams in the NBA, have surprised NBA fans with a solid 6-7 start while playing only four games at home.

The Cavs are led by rookie PG Kyrie Irving, the front runner for rookie of the year. Irving's having a Rose-like rookie season and appears on the path to stardom. Is he on the path to superstardom? Well, few players have ever made the improvements Rose has between years one and three, so he still has a loooong way to go even if the early signs are promising.

Looking at players like Tyreke Evans, O.J. Mayo, or Brandon Jenngings, the league is littered with guys who started off hot and either declined or never significantly improved. Still, it's a nice shot in the arm for Cleveland to get a potential star rookie after the LeBron fiasco.

The Cavs MO this season has been fairly straight forward. They beat lousy teams and lose to good teams. Nothing too difficult to dissect about that. If Derrick Rose plays, the Bulls are a very good team and should have little problem dispatching the Cavs.

However, if the Bulls are sitting here debating about whether Derrick Rose should play tonight, then the answer should be no. Seriously, don't screw around with turf toe. It can become a season long pain in our ass. Suck it up, take the lumps now in the meaningless part of the season and make sure the Bulls are as close to 100% as possible come playoff time.

Without Rose, this could be a tough game. However, I like C.J. Watson's defensive intensity and think he'll step up to the challenge of checking Irving while the offense looked very good against Phoenix with Hamilton and Watson back in it. I'm picking the Bulls with or without Rose, and for our future's sake, I hope we go without if the toe is still an issue.

Keys to the game -assuming no Rose

Know your personnel on defense

The Cavs are a two man offense right now with Irving breaking down the lane and Antawn Jamison playing the role of stretch four. Get a guy out on Jamison and provide help as necessary for Iving and live with the consequences of defending those two players well. If Anderson Verajao or Alonzo Gee beat you then so be it.

The Cavs only other real shooting threats are Daniel Gibson, Anthony Parker, and to some extent Omri Casspi (who's off to a lousy start shooting the ball). The Cavs are a team that will take a lot of bad shots if you make them work at it, so make them work at it.

Rebound the basketball

The Cavaliers are one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA, but so are the Bulls. The Bulls simply need to be cognizant of the glass and make sure to put extra effort into cleaning it up.

Move the ball

Ball movement and precision kills most teams, but it especially kills young teams. With Derrick Rose possibly out, the Bulls will need to move the ball quickly and efficiently to create holes in the defense rather than relying on Rose's ability to simply break down the opponent and create a good look.

Smells like a win

I look for Chicago to come out and take this game regardless of whether Derrick plays, but it should be a fun game to watch for those of us who like to see some of the hot young talent in the NBA.

On a side note, has the league ever had this much talent at PG in it before? Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, Steve Nash, Tony Parker, and then you've got young guys like Stephan Curry, Brandon Jennings, John Wall, Ricky Rubio, and Kyrie Irving.

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  • I totally agree that the Bulls should keep Rose out until he's healthy. Similarly, the Heat should keep Wade out until he's healthy.

  • Agreed 100%. IMO, the earliest Bulls should allow Rose to play is January 25th against Indiana or January 29th against Miami.
    Let that toe HEAL!

  • I recall somebody laughing at me during the celtics game for arguing that Thibodeau was pushing Rose and Deng too hard for the win (they played the entire second half). Now Rose regrets playing hurt in those games. Guess I am not a total idiot after all, thank you.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    Agree about Rose and Deng. Some people just like to argue for the sake of arguing and not trying to understand these situations are fluid and human beings are more complex than stats. Just because MJ or LeBron plays 40 min doesn't mean Deng and Rose can play 40 mins.
    Deng loses his offense if he is tired and especially against the Heat guarding a bull-dozer like LeBron. Rose is the same issue. I think he gets mentally exhausted because of the million things he has to do on this offense. LeBron and Wade have each other to take time off mentally which Rose doesn't have. That's one advantage the Heat have with two guys with similar skill-sets at a high level.
    Changing from LeBron to Wade is changing from Lexus to Cadillac while Rose to CJ is like changing from Ferrari to a Honda

  • Speaking of Anderson Varejao...the comment has been made before, but I was thinking the other night against the Suns that Varejao and Robin Lopez are strong candidates for NBA first team Side Show Bob. Joakim is dangerously close to making that roster, too I think.

    Is it possible to fill a 5-man roster for first team all Side Show Bob?

    1. http://cdn2.sbnation.com/imported_assets/604934/anderson-varejao-sideshow-bob-simpsons-look-a-likes.jpg

    2. Robin Lopez: http://trialx.com/curetalk/wp-content/blogs.dir/7/files/2011/07/sports/Robin_Lopez-3.jpg

    3. Joakim?

    Who else?

  • Speaking of Anderson Varejao....the comment has been made before but he looks a lot like Side Show Bob.

    http://cdn2.sbnation.com/imported_assets/604934/anderson-varejao-sideshow-bob-simpsons-look-a-likes.jpg

    The other night when we were playing the Suns I couldn't help but notice that Robin Lopez is another strong candidate for All-NBA First Team: Side Show Bob. Joakim is dangerously close to making that roster as well.

    Is it possible to fill a 5-man all Side Show Bob team?
    1. Varejao
    2. Lopez
    3. Joakim?
    Who else?

  • is my memory failing or has Lebron never ever been injured (i mean 2+ weeks kind of thing)? MF is made from some kind of unhuman matter, he's been slaming into people for years, stepping between all kinds of leg traffic in the pain. He's gotta be on something. Even jordan broke his leg once, albeit early in his career, but i don't know if he was slamming into people like this all the time.

  • It takes 3-4 weeks to heal turf toe. I wouldn't mind if they sit him for an entire month. The schedule is weak and we have the best depth in the NBA so reading that his toe injury is a day to day thing is non sense and extremly frustrating for a fan to read. Rest him and think long term big picture. They'll play above .500 over the course of the month he's out. GarPax needs to step in and take command of the situation. Sounds like they've allowed D Rose and Thibs to make the decision about when to play on the injury.

  • Rose being out does give other guys like C.J. a chance to step up. It certainly sounds like an injury where Derrick could use some more rest so it truly heals, and doesn't hamper his best asset which is his ability to penetrate.

    As I've harped on Thibs for his demeanor and relating to players, I have to give him his props. I know Doug has said you can't tell a lot about a coach just from watching the games. But I'll have to diagree with that.

    Thibs has been much more of an advocate for his players this season when the refs have short changed them in my view. I've loved it. That buddy buddy shtick last season was wearing thin. Sure, as an assistant you can franternize without the role of head coach aka "Bad Ass when I need to be." Not so as the head honcho..

    One of the biggest complaints on Thibs is his overeliance on his core vets at times being Deng and Rose. To me, the argument has been explored about as much as possible, and I will side with those who think minutes are not universal, but depend on what the individual player can handle such as indeed Luol looking wiped at times.

    The counter point to the overplay, would be the rug pulling out from under you. Good coaches if they see a significant contributor lurking inside a particular player, they will give them time on the court to make mistakes. Even if it's a stretch of a few games. That opportunity and belief from the head coach is sometimes the difference between a successful career, and what might have been. It's also if not thee, then one of the hallmarks of excellent coaches.

    Case in point, Stacy King: "C.J. 'HaWhaatttsssssssoonnnnn"(C.J Watson). One fact of basketball, at least to me it is, is Inside Out. Something Thibs espouses as one of his repetiton in his sleep mantras. And for good reason. To me, shooters get a lot of confidence and energy if they can get to the bucket with some regularity. That's C.J.

    I think he has a really good first step as evidenced by his inside scoring and trips to the line per minutes played at Golden State. If you look at the highlights of his 40 point outburst with G.S. he gets to the basket time and again. Then those threes and even mid range jumpers start mfalling. Plus the frees(throws) make you feel even more invincible as a shooter(Wade, LeBron, Kobe, Mike as extremes).

    I wish Thibs would make the next huge leap, and stick with some of these players rather then having the trigger finger yank the rug out from under them.

    Eventaully C.J. is going to have a suck quarter, a suck half, or even a suck game. I mean shooting in particular. It happens to the best of them. But his defense to me is still a very good component, and reason you can whether the strom with him at times as he develops. But he has to attack. If not, you chew his ass at every time out until he does so.

    Thibs, play C.J. 26 Minutes a game and up for the next three games minimum, and see what happens. If he can rotate with RIP, and develop offensively with some somewhat prolific scoring, and give RIP a lot of rest on some nights to keep him healthy, then how huge is that?

    Thibs, you're winning me over slowly but surely, please take the next step.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    That is unless you pick up Ray Allen(or Steve Nash) Sorry C.J.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Great points RW.
    1. CJ Watson and for that matter even JL3 seem to perform when given extended minutes. But, CJ's role is to maximize his output in that 10-15 minutes with the bench mob. Yeah, it is good to know that if Rose is hurt, CJ can fill-in admirably. But, I think he is a bad fit in a way with the bench mob. He has the good part of being able to make a shot especially the 3 pointer which is great with so many offensively challenged players on the bench mob. But, I feel a true PG type like a Jason Kidd or Nash would setup the other guys to perform better on offense. That said, Nash would be a sieve on defense compared to CJ. I guess we cannot have it all:-)

    2. The minutes thing with Deng and Rose...you are right about it. As Ironflex wrote, Deng and LeBron are not comparable. LeBron is definitely a different person in terms of not only ability and talent but his body structure of handling minutes. Deng seems to exert a lot of effort holding his shorts and summoning up that reserve energy for the last few minutes. It is one thing to do that in the playoffs(even there it hurts) but definitely not in reg season. Also, the rest needs to happen during the game. It is not that you get 10 days rest, you can play for 48 min the next 5 days. That's where the whole stats thing gets goofy for me

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I am in agreement with all you guys above (Schaumburgfan, Bulleave2010, ixonflex69, RoadWarrior). Players are individual human beings and far more complex than stats. Rest is very important and Rose and Deng have been overplayed.

    From the Tribune article and interview it is apparent Rose's toe injury is far worse than we've been led to believe. Rose hasn't been able to bend his toe since his first turf toe injury during his 2nd season in the NBA. And he says the current toe injury is worse than the previous injury during his 2nd season.

    Sounds like the man needs some extended time off.

  • In reply to Edward:

    A very interesting analysis on the relationship between playing time and winning championships from one of the original advance stats geeks. Henry Abbott at Truehoop network.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/35887/a-little-respect-for-coaches-and-pt

    and a related piece from Michael Wilbon

    http://espn.go.com/espn/commentary/story/_/page/wilbon-120118/injuries-compacted-nba-season-determine-league-winners-losers

    The Abbott article takes a statistical look at the issue, the Wilbon piece somes from an experienced eye.

    Excessive playing time may not matter to couch potatoes, But it does seem to matter to NBA coaches, players, and many commentators that make a living covering the NBA.

  • Interesting article on Boozer and his production.

    http://blogs.bulls.com/2012/01/what-should-you-expect-from-carlos-boozer/

  • In reply to NateTags:

    Seeing Amare's shooting percentage trend down towards the 40% mark is making me feel not so bad about Boozer lately. I mean he's still a bad contract, but at least Boozer is just not really contributing like he should unlike Amare who is absolutely killing the Knicks right now. And we know there's light at the end of the tunnel with the amnesty for Boozer which the Knicks already used ... ouch.

    Sure, it's schadenfreude, but as the great philosopher Crow once said, if it makes you happy it can't be that bad.

  • "Changing from LeBron to Wade is changing from Lexus to Cadillac while Rose to CJ is like changing from Ferrari to a Honda"

    Nice comparison Schaumburg fan! LOL
    The Heat have a "unfair" advantage with having 2 of the 5 best players in the NBA on 1 team playing similar positions (SG/SF) so they can come at you together or one plays the other sits.

  • The Cavs other 1st-rounder Tristan Thompsan has been playing well lately too. Might wanna keep an eye on him.

  • Great start by the Bulls. Offense looking much better with Rip in there over Brewer, though competition could be a factor too.

    Glad they held Rose out.

  • Wow Kyrie Irving off to a tremendous start, knocking down threes including a real deep one. I'll give him that all day long though.

  • I was out, DVR'd the game. I'll take it from the final score the Bulls took care a' bidnezz.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I hope Taj's ankle isn't too bad(likewise JL3). Why do I feel like an idiot saying JL3? Hey, he's playing pretty well so what the hell.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I prefer John Lucas XXVIII

    (as in number of shots in his breakout game)

  • Bulls keep on trucking without Rose ... anyone still want to laugh at the idea they're easily a playoff team with CJ running the show, since nobody seemed to believe it last year?

    Not trying to take anything away from Rose who is a great player, just think the other guys on the team deserve a lot more credit than they got for achieving the best record. This Bulls team isn't a superstar driven team, it's a team in the mid-2000s Pistons mould where it relies on a solid contribution from a lot of players. It just happens to also have a player who is considered a superstar. :)

    Hopefully Rose also sees that the team wont fall apart if he takes a few games off and he rests up until he's 100%.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    It's true and those Pistons were a joy to watch.

    Your reasoning is why Bulls should never play Rose or Deng all 24 minutes of a half. Particularly the second half of a Bulls - Miami playoff game. Keep then rested enough to finish against the Heat's 4th quarter surges.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    "Hopefully Rose also sees that the team wont fall apart if he takes a few games off and he rests up until he's 100%."

    Agreed. A lot of people are hoping he returns for the Pacers game, but I say wait it out till its healed. With the way the team is playing right now I could see them winning against Indy without Rose... but even if they don't I would gladly accept a 3-1 record over the next week as our MVP gets right.

  • Anyone else get the feeling that the team is generally picking up their own game with Rose being out for multiple games? Yes, CJ and Rip coming back makes a huge difference as neither of them shy away from taking a shot, but it seems like the rest of the team has picked up the slack as well. Ball movement has been crisp, guys are knocking down shots when they get the open look, they are pressing the ball on defense... just looking very very good.

    My question is, does anyone think that these couple games will act a confidence boost for the squad for the rest of the season? To give them confidence in their own offensive abilities so when Rose comes back they can continue playing at this level instead of always deferring to Derrick? Its scary to think how good this team could be if you were able to seamlessly add Rose back into the way everyone is playing right now.

  • In reply to untitledreality:

    Well, Bulls sure have looked good against Phoenix and Cleveland. But they're both sub.500 teams. Memphis, a better team, was a different matter. I'm interested how well Bulls perform against Indiana without Rose. Hope they play as well as they're showing now.

    Bulls are still calling Rose's injury day-to-day. It's a bad joke!
    From the Tribune article and interview Rose's toe appears to be much worse than Bulls are letting on. Remember how Bulls were calling CJ day-to-day and we only learned about a week later CJ actually dislocated his elbow. Dislocation = day-to-day? Right!

  • "Well, Bulls sure have looked good against Phoenix and Cleveland. But they're both sub.500 teams"

    True, but when you racked up 20+ point leads in both its impressive.

    "Memphis, a better team, was a different matter."

    That was the first game in a few days without Rose, CJ's first game back coming off the bench and no Rip... with how the team is playing now I would fathom a very different result.

    "I'm interested how well Bulls perform against Indiana without Rose. Hope they play as well as they're showing now."

    Same here, I think it could be a great confidence booster for the team if they show up and play well.

  • In reply to untitledreality:

    No Rip against Memphis - Yes, you're right. He does make a significant difference.

  • Check out these articles about heavy minutes, health and winning championships. One by Henry Abbott a heavy statistical analysis guy and Michael Wilbon an eyeball analysis guy.

    http://espn.go.com/espn/commentary/story/_/page/wilbon-120118/injuries-compacted-nba-season-determine-league-winners-losers

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/35887/a-little-respect-for-coaches-and-pt

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