Bulls need longer rests for starters

Bulls need longer rests for starters

Tom Thibodeau treats every game like game seven of the NBA Finals. He demands the same effort, the same preparation, and pushes his players with the same intensity. There's something wonderful and terrible about that.

No one wants to watch their team coast, and we've seen plenty of Bulls squads that put in a half assed effort and lost games they should have won. No one would ever root for a team to take opponents lightly or to go at three quarters speed.

However, Thibodeau needs to find the balance between his short and long term goals. The regular season doesn't matter for these Chicago Bulls. Only two things really matter.

1: Beating the Miami Heat in the playoffs
2: Beating whomever they face in the finals

That's really it.

The Chicago Bulls are going to make the playoffs. They are going to get a top four seed. There simply is no way this doesn't happen. Quite honestly, it's hard to imagine them not getting a top two seed unless they suffer an injury.

Last year, the Bulls struggled in the playoffs with nagging injuries. Carlos Boozer had a toe. Joakim Noah's ankle never fully recovered. Derrick Rose had something going on that cost him some explosion.

It's time that Tom Thibodeau take in one final lesson from Doc Rivers. In the year Boston lost to the Lakers in game seven, Doc rested all of his players down the stretch. They lost spots in the seeding, but they hit the playoffs with fresh legs. The team then surprised everyone by coming within a Kendrick Perkins injury from winning the NBA title [and almost won in spite of Perk's injury].

Who was fighting him every step of the way? Tom Thibodeau. He wanted to play the guys hard to sharpen them for the playoffs, but when he's sharpening the knife, he's grinding off too much of the steel.

Derrick Rose took a nasty fall last night. I won't say that he should have definitively been out of the game with 3:30 left and a 16 point lead. You probably start thinking about that with around four minutes left with a lead that size but don't necessarily act on it right away.

However, after going down, Tom Thibodeau had a WTF moment by keeping Rose in the game afterwards. Really? REALLY?

After the game, Derrick Rose can't lift his arm over his head, but he obviously had to be in there for another 2 minutes with the Bulls up by 16 against the Detroit Pistons, because obviously the team with perhaps the best defense in the NBA couldn't be counted on to hold a 16 point lead for 3 and a half minutes against one of the worst offenses in the league without Derrick Rose in the game.

Derrick Rose wouldn't commit to playing Friday after the game. He said it was too early to tell, and I doubt him playing the extra two minutes had any impact whatsoever on his status for Friday as frequently when you're warm you can continue to workout through some pain.

X-Rays were negative, simply a bruise.

Thibodeau displays amazing trust for his guys in some ways and an amazing lack of trust in others. He'll leave Boozer/Noah on the bench in the fourth quarter because he believes in Asik/Gibson. He'll give Joakim Noah the ball as the primary facilitator with 7 seconds left in a game winning opportunity despite the fact he hasn't been in the game for 22 minutes.

He won't bench Derrick Rose and Luol Deng for more than eight minutes a night.

It's tough to call a game and decide when to whip out the victory cigar and open up the bench. Coaches have seen too many crazy come from behind victories to take many chances. Where the Bulls really need to get extra rest for their guys is in the natural breaks that they take during the game.

In the Detroit game, Thibodeau did an excellent job of resting Rose in the first half. The team was generally breaking even under Lucas, and he played for the first seven minutes of the period with the Bulls increasing their lead by two points over that stretch.

Then comes the start of the fourth quarter, and the Bulls are up by 13, but Derrick Rose doesn't get his rest. Commit to resting Derrick Rose there. Lucas had already proven he could hold the lead against this Detroit team, the lead was even bigger than it was last time you had him in there, why do you skip Rose's break?

Odds are that if Lucas is given a four minute stint that extends as long as the team is playing well, then Derrick Rose may have gotten to rest the rest of the fourth quarter. With the Bulls playing seven times in nine days starting Friday, you need to find ways to rest your guys against the weak teams, because you may not have the chance against the best ones.

This season is an uphill marathon. It's far more grueling than a typical season. Chicago needs to hit the playoffs healthy, and they need to find ways to get their star players minutes down to increase those odds.

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  • I agree with you 100% Doug. As a parallel, in the Heat/Charlotte game the other night, I was yelling at my TV for Spoelstra to take Wade out of the game in the 4th quarter. The Heat had a 28 point lead and Wade (playing with a foot contusion) was still in the game. Low and behold, Wade had to sit out last night's game because of that foot injury. Sometimes, the brightest of minds can just go braindead. Very frustrating!

  • In reply to RichG:

    Wow that's even worse.

  • In reply to RichG:

    As a bulls fan, I commend Spoelstra for any coaching errors that he may choose to entertain.

  • In reply to RichG:

    As a Bulls fan I think LeBron/Wade/Bosh should be playing AT LEAST 48 minutes a game, ESPECIALLY when injured.

  • Where is the depth which everyone talks about. If you cannot give a break to your 2nd best player on a back-to-back game when you have three/four players(Taj, Brewer, Korver and Butler) who can play that position for a few minutes and if they cannot help hold a 16 pt lead for 2/3 mins...that depth talk is just misleading.

    About Rose, maybe that expression he puts sometimes when he is fouled of getting hurt(I know he is tough) misled Thibs to think he is ok even when he was actually hurt. Thibs probably need a time-management assistant who can somehow communicate with Thibs during a game.
    Also, both Deng and Rose are raising their legs/jumping when they drive or go the basket...which means chances of falling down are more unlike Boozer who always has contact with the floor even near the basket;-)

  • I think Thibs overuse of players is his biggest weakness. Being a career asst. coach and never a player, he has no true idea of the season's grind on an athlete's body. Thibs coaching and time management decisions played as big a role in the Bulls loss to Miami as their lack of a 2nd scorer. Rose and Deng were gassed in the ECF because they never got any meaningful rest. I like Thibs overall but wonder if he's the "Phil Collins" of this current Bulls team considering how horrible a coach Del Negro was.

  • In reply to ChuckB34:

    I agree with you completely that lack of rest cost Bulls the Miami series. Asking Rose to play the entire 24 minutes of 2nd halves AND close out with game winning shots while guarded by 6’8” LeBron is absolutely insane! Management needs to step in and correct this situation because Thibs has shown he cannot handle rest. The players are management’s long term assets, not Thibs.

    Kudo’s to Doug for the excellent example of Boston resting to prep for the playoffs.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Bulls vs Heat EC Finals 2011:

    LeBron played 225:55
    Deng played 212:18
    Rose played 209:26
    Wade played 198:02

    So it's your contention that Rose playing 2 more minutes per game than Wade- and 3+ minutes per game LESS than LeBron- cost the Bulls the series?

    That's quite a reach you've got there- I would assume that since Rose is 7 years younger than DWade, he could easily handle the extra 2 minutes a night?

  • In reply to ChuckB34:

    Where did Spoelstra play? He has less experience as a coach and he rode LeBron/Wade for more minutes. It was more about talent, experience, momentum and luck in some order in the ECF even though I would like Thibs to keep them fresh.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Less experience than Thibs? Spoelstra has been an NBA Head Coach since 2008 and has Pat Riley to critique his every performance. Last year was Thibs 1st year as a Head Coach (being a lifetime asst. is an indictment and not a compliment in my opinion). The Bulls lost last year to Miami was as much due to Thibs coaching (or lack of in game adjustments, excessive minutes of Rose & Deng) as much as the Bulls lack of playoff experience. Miami may have had better talent, the Bulls were definitely a better team and great coaching could have made the difference. Ask Dallas.

  • In reply to ChuckB34:

    Even Vinny has more experience than Thibs and he has played in the league as a guard with a good winning franchise. What does that mean??
    Do you think if Riley had the option of picking Thibs and Spoelstra this year, he would pick Spoelstra over Thibs?

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Riley could have hired Thibs back in 2008, when he hired Spoelstra, so why would Riley change his mind now? Both coaches are comparable, and share the same flaw of playing their stars too many minutes.

  • In reply to RichG:

    C'mon...do you really think Riley would have hired Spoelstra before Thibs if both were free agents. Spoelstra is Riley's puppy...that's why he got the job.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Spoelstra is a Riley disciple for a reason. Riley likes him. Let's not make Thibs out to be Phil Jackson or Red Auerbach.

  • In reply to ChuckB34:

    Speaking of Dallas, the last couple games of that series the TV announcers Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson were spewing tired coaching clichés when Carlisle sat Dirk for his normal 2nd half rest. They said, “you can’t sit Dirk”, “You’ve got to ask your star to man up for 15 more minutes”, “you need you starters on the floor” blah, blah…

    Carlisle gave Dirk his normal 2nd half rest, the subs played well an even extended the lead a point or two, then Dirk came back into the game fresh, and closed out like an all-star and won the games.

    When your stars are fresh, they can play like stars. When they’re gassed, they become ordinary. Anyone who watched the Bulls-Miami series could clearly see Rose was gassed from playing all 24 minutes of the second halves – the smallest man on the court carrying the biggest load. So what can Rose do when he’s gassed and Miami switches 6’8” Lebron to guard him for the last 4 minutes of the game? Rose became ordinary, he had nothing left, and Bulls lost as a result.

    And this was after CJ and the Bench Mob played a great 6 minutes to start the 2nd quarter, but Thibs wouldn’t rest Rose for 3-4 minutes to open the 4th quarter. Instead, Thibs opens the 4th playing CJ alongside Rose in a small backcourt that backfires giving up 7 points in 2 minutes. Thibs responds by inserting Brewer not for Rose, but for CJ, and Rose never gets his rest. Anyone watching the games could see that Bulls needed to be rested to withstand the surge Miami always gave the last half of 4th quarters. Thibs didn’t figure that out and it cost Bulls 2 playoff games. FACT.

    Thibs repeated that same mistake once with Kurt Thomas. It was the game where Noah and Boozer sat the entire 4th quarter. Kurt Thomas was playing well, but Thibs rode that overweight 38 year old for 15 minutes straight, never resting him from the last 3 minutes of the 3rd quarter. Thomas was clearly gassed down the stretch, he needed a rest but never got it.

    As you say, poor minute management and lack of in-game adjustments is Thibs' big weakness. He is an excellent preparation-teaching and defensive coach - that's what he always did as an assistant.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Good point- last year's playoff minutes:

    LeBron 43.9
    Wade 39.4
    Deng 42.9
    Rose 37.2

    Regular season:

    LeBron 38.8
    Wade 37.2
    Deng 39.1
    Rose 37.4

  • So can we please stop with any "the Bulls lost to the Heat last May because Thibs played Deng and Rose too many minutes"?

    It is simply 100%, totally, completely, without a doubt, undeniably, NOT TRUE. End of story.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Yeah, according to you it's was because :

    Korver couldn't hit a wide-open 3 to save his mother's life. He shot 28.6% vs the Heat- if he hits his career 41.1%, or the 47.4% he shot in the first two rounds last season, the Bulls are probably up 3-2 in that series instead of losing 4-1.

    loool.

  • In reply to deewaves:

    NO, that's not what I said. Nice try LOL.

    What I said was that Korver's sudden bad shooting was PART of the reason we lost.

    But I guess when people's "Deng and Rose were worn out from playing too many minutes, that's why we lost" is proven to be 100% false because LeBron and Wade played the same number of minutes as Deng and Rose, they have to try something. Make something up. Misquote someone.

    Nice try LOL.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    This is a very simple minded analysis, even if it were/is factually correct.

    If you start saying that we lost the Miami series because we didn't trade for Nick Young or Sam Young everything will become obvious to long time observers of this site.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    No, "simple-minded" is saying 'Rose played too many minutes' when Wade played just as many and LeBron played more, yet they weren't worn out.

    I know it sucks when there are cold, hard FACTS to disprove your theory, but it is what it is.

    I'm still waiting for your explanation as to why Rose was worn out from too many minutes, but Wade wasn't worn out and he played just as many minutes. And why LeBron wasn't worn out when he played MORE minutes.

    I'm not holding my breath, obviously.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Number one, I have not personally espoused this theory(even though I do believe that Linus(thibs)plays Deng and Rose too many unnecessary minutes), so I don't owe you shit.

    Number two, clearly Mr UnHappy you have massive anger issues. Too bad since we thought that we had gotten rid of most if not all of the angry posters since last season.

    Are you irrationally angry because you have been locked in Mr Happy's basement for the last six months with a ball gag in your mouth and a butt plug up your ass, or maybe you actually are Mappy, we all suspected that he was still lurking out there somewhere.

    By the way, isn't holding your breath until you get what you want a typical behavior for human infants.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Agree 100% Don Ellis

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I meant to say that coaches ride their best players as much as they can. That said, one of the "multiple" reasons the Bulls lost was Rose/Deng being tired to take good shots. I think Rose especially was mentally tired which translated to physical mistakes in the ECF because Thibs played him so much. Wade/LeBron/Chalmers/Bibby were sharing the mental load of what Rose was doing in the ECF except for a sprinkling of CJ.

    I don't agree with just displaying the minutes as you did. Wade would have coased for 5/10 minutes which Rose would never have and the same with LeBron. MJ did that perfectly. Hopefully, Rose is smarter this time around(he keeps saying his BB IQ has improved).
    That means: when to pass/when to shoot/when to takeover -- that decision making based on the flow of the game
    When to play passive defense(if Taj/Asik are beasting) or playing aggressive defense(when Boozer is protecting the rim)....and these things cannot be evaluated by stats.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    You don't agree with just displaying the minutes? Why not, the entire argument has been that Rose played too many minutes. No disclaimers, just that he played too many minutes. So just displaying the minutes was all that was need to prove that theory wrong.

    Did he not coast at times like LeBron and Wade? Sure, like you just said "hopefully Rose is smarter this time around".

    That just backs up my statement that one of the big reasons we lost was lack of experience. Wade and LeBron had been to ECF and NBA Finals, they knew better how to pace themselves.

    Now that Rose has experienced that, we should all be able to safely assume that he'll be better equipped (mentally) to play the same minutes as DWade.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    End of story, Don Ellis?
    Perhaps the end of your ability to reason, but certainly not the end of much else.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Just like with Mappy, there will never be an end to the story as long as there are "the facts" otherwise known as the gospel according to Mappy or in this case Mr UnHappy, aka Don Ellis.

    Unfortunately, it looks like we are stuck with another one for a while.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    And he refers people to his own Bulls blog. Didn't Mappy do that too?

  • In my previous comments I talked about what happens to the Bulls depth if anyone got hurt-- if any of the 1st and 2nd team members got hurt in such a short season with 4 games to play each week. Kurt Thomas is no longer there to protect Rose and we badly need another big for that purpose alone. Now Deng is hurt, are they going to keep playing him or let him heal? Rose may have a higher pain tollerance but why play him so much especially when we are winning big during the last 3 minutes of a game. Why doesn't the coach give bench players more playing time--this could only strengthen the team for future games. Maybe we could even sacrifice a couple of games and lose them making the finals our priority--and focus on keeping players healthy for the post season. Why can't the White Mamba be a coach, and why can't the 15th position be used to defensively train a good offensive young (affordable and economically low cost) player like Azubuke or Douglas Roberts so eventually they could start..

  • Deng handled the minutes fine last year. Rose worked on his conditioning this summer, & the ependant on him to create everything now. Enough with the babying & crying about minutes. These are elite athletes in the best condition of their life. Rose I'm sure welcomes the challenge, & despite what has been said, home court does matter.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    meant the offense is less dependant...

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Yes, so you think these men are super human. Maybe you have been reading too many comic books or playing too many video games, and reality has not been your focus. And you forget what happened during the finals with Miami--Deng and Rose were worn out at the end of that long season. Welcoming a challenge to have vision may not be your forte.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    So why weren't Wade and LeBron worn out? They played the same number of minutes as Rose and Deng.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    Oh cry me a river. Why do some of you guys act so scared all the time? Grow some balls. I would love for you to try the offseason workout routines these guys do, would be quite more funny than any comic book. Is 4-8 minutes a night really that big od a difference? He's going to be doing it in the playoffs, might as well keep his body conditioned & in that rhythm until then. Also, that was not my only evidence that they can handle the minutes. Miami was lost for many reasons. One of which was Derrick tiring & being injured, that's why he worked on conditioning in the offseason. That's called welcoming a challenge, Chumpy. Something you wouldn't know anything about, unlike running away scared with your tail between your legs, crying like a bitch. I'm glad Derrick & Lieutenant Deng are nothing like you.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Everybody has a limit even elite athletes. Rose definitely showed some fatigue sign during the ECF.

  • In reply to deewaves:

    so you think 40 is a limit but something like 36 is that much better? Get real, these guys could play for hours upon hours in their young to mid 20s

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    they are still human beings, and when it comes to physical and mental attributes we are not all created equal, otherwise everybody would be like Mike, who by the way might have played through fatigue better than anyone ever.

  • Doug has it right. It seems obvious that the compressed schedules is going to require some playing time adjustments - I can't see why Thibs isn't willing to play some of his guys even for a few minutes. Like Schaumburgfan said, we need to make it easy on rose and deng during the easy-win games like last night.

  • Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see the Bulls go 59-0 the rest of the way with the whole starting 5 only having to play 30 minutes a night.

    And yes, the compressed schedule makes it tougher on all the high-minute guys across the league.

    And people are more than welcome to their OPINIONS as to why the Bulls lost to the Heat- but the FACT is that their big 2 played just as many minutes as our big 2 did last season.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    The FACT is Miami routinely won games with surges in the last 6 minutes. Rather than preparing for that by making sure Rose was rested to withstand that assault and respond, Thibs chose to play Rose the entire 24 minutes of 2nd halves. Rose was the smallest man on the court carrying the biggest load – and Thibs ensured he was gassed at the end, too gassed to close.

    When your stars are rested they can play like stars, when they’re gassed they become ordinary. Your comparison of Lebron and Wade’s minutes lacks insight. It doesn’t acknowledge the athletic superiority they enjoy due to size and playing together. This allows them to coast during games. Rose cannot coast, he’s the smallest player on the court carrying the biggest load with no other star/shot creator. It wears on him. He needs some rest in order to be Superman at games end.

    Thibs time management decisions cost Bulls playoff games. FACT

  • In reply to Edward:

    Yes, yes and yes, simple minded as I said.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    BigWay,
    Not sure of the meaning of your above message, or what specific comment it is in response to.

  • In reply to Edward:

    just agreeing in totality with your comments, and contrasting them with the simple minded "FACTS" argument of DE

  • In reply to Edward:

    No "Thibs time management decisions cost Bulls playoff games" is an OPINION, not a FACT.

    A FACT is something that can be proven- there is no way to prove that the Bulls would have won even one more game vs Miami if Rose would have rested 4 more minutes each game.

    If anything, since Rose is the only scorer/shot creator to the point that he can't even afford to coast for a few minutes each half, how bad will the team be with him on the bench? How are we going to be close enough at the end if we can't score without Rose?

    At least now I know not to bother with you any more, if you don't know the difference between opinion and fact we really can't have a discussion.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    The fact is that you are full of opinions and full of your own self.

    Edward is one of the most cogent posters on this site. You couldn't be more MappyLike if you came from the same womb.

    From now on you shall be known as MappyJr.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Opinions and Facts in all caps, now we know for sure that is it you MAPPY. I feared that you could not stay away for long.

  • The reality is that teams shorten their rosters in the playoffs, so it makes sense that the starters will play more minutes... I do agree with an earlier comment that our depth is misleading... We have capable players, and I believe we have a few that have maximized their potential... We also have some that were brought in to do certain things, and have failed to do so... Watson has been underutilized and not met hos potential because he isn't given too much freedom, but he's been good this season... Boozer is playing about how I expected, he's getting some steals, but still getting abused by the likes of Tyler Hansborough... To me the biggest disappointment in our additions has been Kyle Korver... Now, when he's shooting well, that's fine... but he hasn't been... and when he's not, he's a complete liability and I'd rather see Jimmy Butler... The idea that he's a threat to stretch the floor is ridiculous when he isn't hitting shots, and teams are taking notice and there have been quite a few times that I've seen Korver open because he hasn't proven he could hit a shot... I know that it's early, just worrisome come playoff time when we'll need Korver to actually stretch the floor...

  • If you look at the boxscore, Korver played 9 minutes and Brewer played 16 minutes. You would think they can add a few more minutes to these wings to give Deng some rest. Deng and Rose in my opinion should play 36-38 minutes since our depth is decent although I agree that Korver has been a disappointment, his shots look rushed and he just seemed out of rhythm. Hopefully he can turn it around and give Thibodeau confidence in him. Now if we had Kirk Hinrich instead of those two, Coach T would probably ease up on our two best players.

  • Simply put, Thibs is Linus, Deng and Rose are his security blankets.

    Can't we just trade Boozer for that tough little SOB Bynum. Actually, I am almost not being facetious. I've always liked that kid, he gave Rose all he could handle last night and could give Rose a lot more rest as the backup point and maybe play with Rose(st the 2) for short stretches.

  • Can't agree with Doug more regarding the game last night. I was yelling at the Thibs through the tube to pull D.Rose. John Lucas III can straight up ball. He should have been in that late.

  • I miss Capt Kirk! We sure could use another ball handler right now and Kirk was a combo guard which really helped young Derrick out.
    We sure lost a great player in Capt Kirk, I'd love if he came back to us cheap!
    I hope we bring in another PG so we don't need to rely on lil Lucas to give Derrick a few minutes of rest a night.
    CJ could be out a month with this elbow injury.

  • In reply to smiley:

    Exactly. We sure miss him. Bulls should try to bring him back. He allowed Rose to focus on scoring. He could defend and shoot 3's.

  • In reply to deewaves:

    Lil Lucas is about to suprise you fellas.

  • In reply to deewaves:

    Yea, but if we brought Kirk back, all the Ben Gordon fans would come back and call us all racists.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    loool

  • In reply to smiley:

    It's interesting to see how the perception of Kirk Hinrich has changed since he left Chicago. When he was a Bull, he was the "over payed, combo guard who played inefficient offense". Presently, I think most Bulls fans would like to have him back in a Bulls uniform (at a cheaper cost for the team). I always enjoyed watching Kurt (as Vinny would call him) play defense, especially against Wade. The national media has pretty much assumed Hinrich will sign back with the Bulls next season, I wouldn't have a problem welcoming Captain Kirk back.

  • Bulls FTW posted this trade idea last night,

    Boozer and Asik plus Charlotte pick

    to Atlanta for

    Horford and Zaza.

    Funny, but I thought about posting the same trade(minus the pick) after the Atlanta game.

    If I could pick the ideal PF for this Bulls team, it would be Horford(or secondly our own #2 pick from a few years ago, LA)

    As much as I love Asik, I would have to seriously consider giving him up if we could simultaneously get rid of Boozer(TOAH) and acquire Horford to play alongside Noah.

    Hordord is not a center, but the ATL has to play him there. Asik is a legitimate center, and Bozo probably fits ATL's basketball culture better than he does ours.

    Zaza as a backup gives us a lot of what Asik does(without the upside) physical toughness and rebounding

    I doubt that ATL gives up Horford for anyone other than Dwight, and I doubt that they want Bozos contract, but given their cap situation(disaster) as a result of the Johnson signing, maybe taking on Bozos contract doesn't matter that much.

    Again, I really, really hate to give up Asik(I would almost be reluctant to trade him straight up for Horford), but this trade(+getting rid of Bozo) would certainly tempt me to.

    What to you guys think, thanks for bring it up FTW, ie fuck the what.

    At the end of the day, neither team probably even thinks about it.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Even if you promise that you personally will pay the luxury tax for Atlanta, they are not going to trade Horford for Boozer. He is their only stable young piece and are not trading him for anyone else other than Howard. I doubt they will even trade him for Andrew Bynum

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Boozer makes only a couple million more than Horford who is on a Noah type contract, maybe even a few bucks more. With Johnsons ever exploding deal the Hawks are a luxury tax team unless they start dumping salary.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Why the hell would ATL trade Horford for someone less good and more expensive ?

  • In reply to deewaves:

    They are taking Bozo to get a legitimate NBA center(Asik) who has the potential to change every game with just his defense. What they have now isn't working, so they need to make a change and are limited by Johnsons totally unmovable contract.

  • Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill. So resting for 4 minutes in January is going to help a player perform much better in 4 months time. I mean really, the crap sports fans believe when dressed up with fancy commentary is unbelievable. Nobody would believe about themselves that if they finished their workout today 4 minutes sooner they're going to be much fitter in May, they'd tell you it's a load of crap that 4 minutes would really make a difference.

    Here's what I think: resting players will help them short term ... they'll be less tired in the next few days. So the point to resting players is to get better results in upcoming fixtures. But it's pointless resting guys to try to win future games if it costs you the current game! So it makes perfect sense to play your best players a few more minutes and make sure, at the risk they might be slightly more tired and maybe play a little worse in the next game or two.

    Long term I think there's close to zero effect on how well the Bulls play in the playoffs whether Rose/Deng play those extra minutes, unless they pick up a major injury. And hey, you can't completely discount that, playing 40 vs 36 minutes there's an extra 10% of time to hurt yourself, but injuries can happen at any time, you can always trip over a gym bag and break your hand too. On the other hand I think home court against the Heat gives the Bulls a decent boost to their chances of winning the series.

    Therefore I hope Thibs goes nuts and tries to win every game he can and lets people second guess his minute allocations all they like.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    IF what you are saying is true, then every star(or starter) should just play 48 minutes every game(like Wilt did), and there would be no back to back effect or 4 out of 5 effect.

    anybody who has ever worked physically knows that the body breaks down sooner and faster the harder and longer that you stress it.

  • I don't get it. Every minute that a critical team member rests is an opportunity for him to be less gassed next game, for our bench mob to take on more load and gain more confidence and pride, and reduce critical injury time. No way Detroit was coming back that game, if anything the bench mob would have brought more energy to stopping Detroit's last run. I don't get it, why NOT involve the rest of the team and reduce injury risk, in this shortened season especially? No point to shyte like KC's comparisons to what MJ and SP and P(Z-M)J may have done in a different year and era, right now I want Derrick and Luol as fresh as possible in the playoffs! Every fresher day will help. Taj plays SO much better with extra minutes, so does Omer, I'm all for keeping everyone as involved as possible, especially this early in the season. We're winning games we should and blowing out teams we should, for god's sake! Okay, now I'm starting to whine... but imagine John Lucas3 starting and Ronnie Brewer replacing him, and you'll see why I'm worried about DR right now!

  • fb_avatar

    I normally just come here and read the posts, but I really surprised by the comments about minutes. I ran track, played football, basketball, and baseball. Regardless of what sport it was that I was playing, the hardest part was practice because you spent more time practicing then you did actually playing.

    If you started on your basketball squad and played 30 minutes a game, you'd routinely practice for like 2 hours STRAIGHT! Our bodies our designed to adapt. These practices aren't just designed to improve your play they are also there to improve your endurance.

    If a player is going to play more minutes in the playoffs, it's better than his body is used to it before the playoffs start. The main risk is an injury, but your endurance will improve. When you play sports, especially professionally, you get the TV timeouts too. Go back and look at the Jordan years and you'll see that Jordan and Pippen played a ton of minutes to. Part of sports is "out enduring" your opponent. This comes from developing your endurance in real games, you can do that playing less minutes.

    If Deng and Rose were 32, 33, then I think it would make more sense. But ( doping aside ) even Lance Armstrong was outdoing his younger piers at endurance, and Jordan played major minutes even when he was well over 30. Endurance is a huge part of the game, that's why they play 48 minutes.

    The commentators that are saying play less haven't ever played pro basketball. Obviously I'm not entirely right because anything can happen playing more minutes but there is just no proof that a player that plays more minutes will not perform. What that player HAS TO do is improve his endurance and learn to manage his pace better.

  • In reply to Folusho Orokunle:

    Good points, but I have two concerns with your logic.

    First, you state "the hardest part was practice because you spent more time practicing then you did actually playing." If that's true, then it shouldn't matter when Rose and Deng play 5-10 extra minutes in games. Their "endurance" comes from practice, not from the relatively small amount of additional minutes played in regular season games. If anything, you need to save those game-minutes for the playoffs, where they will be called upon to do more.

    Second, this is a condensed 66-game season with a very limited number of days off and therefore a very small number of practices. Without the time to build up endurance in practice, Rose and Deng should not be playing heavy minutes during the EARLY regular season games. They need to build up to 40+ gradually, hopefully peaking in the playoffs.

  • In reply to bzoooty:

    My first point was perhaps unclear. It is this: if practice is the true source of "endurance," then playing more minutes in regular seasons games is not necessary when preparing to excel, and play heavy minutes, in the playoffs.

    I am in favor of reducing Rose and Deng's minutes, especially early in the season.

    This season, Deng is #1 in total minutes played and Rose is #4. They're ahead of both Lebron (#5) and Wade (#29). Deng is first overall! That's ridiculous and unnecessary. And it's part of a pattern. Last season Deng was #3 in minutes played, ahead of Lebron at #6 by nearly 150 minutes, and Rose was #9, ahead of Wade at #20 by over 200 minutes.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2012_stats.html
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2011_stats.html

  • In reply to Folusho Orokunle:

    My first point was perhaps unclear. It's this: if "practice" is the true source of "endurance," then it is not necessary to play heavy minutes in the regular season in order to prepare for playing heavy productive minutes in the post-season.

    Frankly, Deng and Rose are playing too many cumulative minutes. This season, Deng is #1 in total minutes played and Rose is #4. They're ahead of both Lebron (#5) and Wade (#29). Deng is first overall! That's ridiculous and unnecessary. And it's part of a pattern. Last season Deng was #3 in minutes played, ahead of Lebron at #6 by nearly 150 minutes, and Rose was #9, ahead of Wade at #20 by over 200 minutes.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2012_stats.html

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2011_stats.html

  • In reply to Folusho Orokunle:

    My first point was perhaps unclear. It's this: if "practice" is the true source of "endurance," then it is not necessary to play heavy minutes in the regular season in order to prepare for playing heavy productive minutes in the post-season.

    Frankly, Deng and Rose are playing too many cumulative minutes. This season, Deng is #1 in total minutes played and Rose is #4. They're ahead of both Lebron (#5) and Wade (#29). Deng is first overall! That's ridiculous and unnecessary. And it's part of a pattern. Last season Deng was #3 in minutes played, ahead of Lebron at #6 by nearly 150 minutes, and Rose was #9, ahead of Wade at #20 by over 200 minutes.

    Stats are from basketball-reference.com

  • There are three reasons to decrease a player's minutes.

    1. LONG-TERM REST. The cumulative minutes over the course of a season matter, especially when you're playing a lot of playoff games or when you're enduring a condensed season. This season, Deng and Rose rank #1 and #4 in total minutes played, ahead of both LBJ (#5) and Wade (#29). Deng is first overall! That's ridiculous and unnecessary. And it's part of a pattern: last season Deng was #3 ahead of Lebron (#6) by about 150 total minutes, and Rose was #9 ahead of Wade (#20) by over 200 total minutes.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2011_stats.html
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2012_stats.html

    2. Short-term rest. When you're playing critical games, as the Bulls were against Miami in the ECF, a few extra minutes of rest to save energy for the end of the 4th quarter or for the next game can be a huge benefit. It's a mistake to think that every payer's minutes are equivalent (as "Don Ellis" does). If a player begins to look tired, as both Rose and Deng did in the conference finals last year, the job of the coach is to find ways to get that player some breathing room.

    3. Injury avoidance. The more minutes you play, the more chances you have to injured. Period. Doug's point that there is no reason to play Rose after he hits his elbow is completely and utterly reasonable. The Bulls were up 16; there's no reason to risk aggravating the (hopefully very minor) injury. Deng, meanwhile, has a history of injury. I like the idea of playing him 35-38 minutes per night because he seems to do well when he plays consistently. But there's no reason to force him beyond that and risk getting hurt.

  • Doug is right that the Bulls should be concerned about cumulative minutes.

    This season, Deng is #1 in total minutes played and Rose is #4. They're ahead of both Lebron (#5) and Wade (#29). Deng is first overall! That's ridiculous and unnecessary. And it's part of a pattern. Last season Deng was #3 in minutes played, ahead of Lebron at #6 by nearly 150 minutes, and Rose was #9, ahead of Wade at #20 by over 200 minutes.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2012_stats.html
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2011_stats.html

    Especially in a condensed 66-game season, injuries and fatigue are a real concern. The fewer minutes you play (within reason), the less likely you are to get injured. Period. And the less likely you are to aggravate an injury, which was Doug's point about pulling Rose after he smacked his elbow.

    Obviously, our starters need to be in condition to play 40+ minutes per game in the playoffs when necessary, but that doesn't require having Deng lead the league in minutes played and it doesn't require leaving a banged-up Rose in the game with a 16-point 4th-quarter lead.

  • Doug is right that the Bulls should be concerned about cumulative minutes.

    This season, Deng is #1 in total minutes played and Rose is #4. They're ahead of both Lebron (#5) and Wade (#29). Deng is first overall! That's ridiculous and unnecessary. And it's part of a pattern. Last season Deng was #3 in minutes played, ahead of Lebron at #6 by nearly 150 minutes, and Rose was #9, ahead of Wade at #20 by over 200 minutes.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2012_stats.html
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2011_stats.html

    Especially in a condensed 66-game season, injuries and fatigue are a real concern. The fewer minutes you play (within reason), the less likely you are to get injured. Period. And the less likely you are to aggravate an injury, which was Doug's point about pulling Rose after he smacked his elbow.

    Obviously, our starters need to be in condition to play 40+ minutes per game in the playoffs when necessary, but that doesn't require having Deng lead the league in minutes played and it doesn't require leaving a banged-up Rose in the game with a 16-point 4th-quarter lead.

  • My first point was perhaps unclear. It's this: if "practice" is the true source of "endurance," then it's not necessary to play heavy minutes in the regular season in order to prepare for playing heavy minutes in the post-season.

    Frankly, Deng and Rose are playing too many cumulative minutes in any case. This season, Deng is #1 in total minutes played and Rose is #4. They're ahead of both Lebron (#5) and Wade (#29). Deng is first overall! That's ridiculous and unnecessary. And it's part of a pattern. Last season Deng was #3 in minutes played, ahead of Lebron at #6 by nearly 150 minutes, and Rose was #9, ahead of Wade at #20 by over 200 minutes.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2012_stats.html
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2011_stats.html

  • The people on this blog who don’t understand rest appear to me to be people who never played competitive basketball. If they had played they would understand that when a player is winded and fatigued he plays below his capabilities. Making comments like 4 minutes is just 10% of 40 minutes so it shouldn’t make much difference, or comparing rows of numbers is simply juvenile.

    Playing competitively when you’re winded (and your opponent isn’t) is a truly horrible experience! Because it doesn’t matter how hard you try, you can’t overcome your opponent. You get beat on the boards, get beat on defense, make turnovers, miss shots you should make, make mental mistakes. It truly sucks. Only solution is, catch a blow for a few minutes! These athletes are well-conditioned, it doesn’t take long. But they’ve got to get a breather a few times throughout the game. If they do they’re better able to make shots, get boards, defend and not make turnovers.

    Phil Jackson ROUTINELY rested Jordan the last few minutes of the 3rd quarter and first few of the 4th. Even though this was only 4-6 minutes of playing time, it gave Jordan an actual 10-15 minute breather. Then he re-entered the game rested and was Superman.

    When Thibs does rest Rose at the beginning of 4th quarters he benefits from the few minutes between quarters as well. It’s about regaining your wind, so you are fresh to close out a game, if needed. It shouldn’t be that difficult to understand. Playing all 24 minutes of a half serves no purpose.

    The Bench Mob can hold the fort for 4-6 minutes of playing time! But we need Rose rested if you want him to close out games and be fresh for playoffs. And same for Deng, he’s leading the NBA in minutes. WHY?!? For what purpose?

    As Schaumburgfan pointed out, if Bulls are so deep they shouldn’t have anyone near the league lead in minutes.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I'm guessing you've never played NBA basketball either, so don't use the "I'm so experienced and know it all" angle. I'd wager Rose and Deng are in 1000% better shape than any of us so I really don't think you and your mates playing in a league about 500 levels removed from the NBA compares. It's about as relevant as my drive to the shops on the weekend to pick up some groceries is to F1 racing.

    I don't see why being deep means your best players should play less. So you're deep, that just means you bench doesn't suck ... it doesn't change the fact your best players are still better than them. If your best players are capable of playing the minutes, why not play them?

  • In reply to Shakes:

    If you re-read my post I never claimed to have played in the NBA, haha. I said organized basketball, which also doesn’t mean playing in a rec league as you referred to. Specifically, I played high school and junior college ball. Best player I competed against in JC was Lee Cummings (only 6’2 not 6’9” like his brother Terry, but still 6th in the nation in JC scoring at 30ppg). And I did run cross country at DePaul when Terry Cummings and Tyrone Corbin played. All the student athletes knew each other and shared the same training facilities at tiny Alumni Hall, so I do have some perspective on competitive athletics.

    Athletes at all levels get winded and fatigued (gassed). That doesn’t change just because a player has the genetic talent and skills to rise to Division I or the pros, because their competition is at that same level. When watching games you can see when players are gassed, all that means is they need a breather.

    The point I’ve made repeatedly is against playing all 24 minutes of a half without getting a breather. This is how Thibs put Rose in a position to fail in the playoffs. You can’t expect Rose to close out against the 4th quarter surging Miami Heat without getting a breather in the 2nd half. It was obvious that Rose was gassed at games end against Heat. He was also fatigued from the long NBA grind and reluctantly admitted it after the season. Thibs needs to do a better job of conserving his star players, Rose and Deng, if he wants them in top form come playoffs.

    If that understanding is beyond your comprehension, so be it. Enjoy your trip to the grocery store and go be a jerk on someone else’s time.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I personally am a huge fan of resting your stars for the last few minutes of the first and third quarters and the first few minutes of the second and fourth quarters, giving them a good 10-15 minutes of contunuous rest and more imortantly recovery.

    Additionally, not all human bodies, athlete or nor are the same, some are better developed toward endurance and some toward sprinting.

    Basketball is a srinting type activity thus favoring those athlete types. Deng for sure appears to be an endurance type, Rose looks to be more of a sprinter.

    But hey, who cares about actual individual humans, lets just look at the raw data without regard to context, afterall, those are the facts man, at least according to MappyAlexJr.

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    That's true. The extra 5 minutes may not matter to their endurance. So I guess we can ALL agree that if they're winning a game by 10 to 15 points the whole game like against Detroit, they don't necessarily have to play 38 to 40 minutes. I agree with that. But they didn't have much of a training camp and Thibs is a perfectionist. Correct me if I'm wrong, didn't Phil only starting giving the bench extended playing time during games after the first few Rings? It might be easier to say, "I'll give my guys an extra 5 minute breather" after we've won somethings.

    Derrick, Lou, Boozer, they haven't won anything yet. If we're gonna beat Miami, we need home court. They beat us when we had home court last year. Honestly everything has to go our way this year, including luck.

  • In reply to Folusho Orokunle:

    Hi Folusho!
    I agree I'd prefer to have home court over Miami and everyone else. But let's think about this for a minute. Last season Bulls had homecourt and yet they lost. So maybe homecourt isn't the determining factor. Maybe its something else.

    Rose admitted after the season that he was worndown in the playoffs. So why not have the Bulls better rested like Doc Rivers did with his Celtics? There are two specifics within this issue that seems especially senseless. The first is playing anybody all 24 minutes of a half. There is no purpose for that. And especially Rose in 2nd halves.

    The other is playing Rose and Deng heavy minutes against sub .500/sub .400 junk teams. These are the teams where you want to give your bench extended minutes, and rest your key stars. Especially in this compressed season.

    OK, I'll stop now.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Well everyone's heroes of rest Boston played the Heat last year and got smashed, so by your logic then rest isn't the "determining factor" either.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    No, not in that series. I think Boston’s stars being well past their prime, trading away their center Kendrick Perkins, and Rondo being injured may have had something to do with their loss to the Heat. Rest can’t overcome those disadvantages.

    But those factors didn't apply to the Bulls - Miami series so it’s a poor comparison.

  • I am truly stunned at the incredibly low level of basic English comprehension by some on this board.

    They keep screaming "the more you play, the more tired you are". NO SHEEET!! You guys are geniuses!!!

    That still doesn't explain how our Rose and Deng were worn out from playing almost the exact same number of minutes as Wade and LeBron- yet Wade and LeBron weren't worn out.

    If Wade and LeBron can handle the minutes but Rose and Deng can't, then Rose and Deng need to get into better physical condition.

    Personally, I want Rose and Deng on the floor whenever Wade and LeBron are on the floor, it gives us our best chance of winning.

  • It's funny, I've never seen or heard one Heat fan complain that they lost to Dallas because LeBron and Wade were worn out.

    Maybe LeBron isn't a choker, he was just worn out in the 4th quarter? He did play more minutes than Rose, who was worn out a series earlier.

  • For those who do understand basic English, Thibs probably will need to cut down slightly on Deng and Rose's regular season minutes this season, simply because there are so many games crammed into a shorter time period.

    BUT NOT MANY- Rose only played 37.4 minutes per game last season, and Deng played 39.1- I certainly want each of them getting at least 36 minutes a night.

    It's harder to play 42-43 minutes a game in the playoffs when your body is only conditioned to play 36 a game.

    But the 2nd week of the season is just a bit too early to be worried about playing guys too many minutes. If anything, with no training camp to speak of, the guys need the extra minutes the first 10 games or so, just so they can get into proper game condition.

    I'm sure Rose was tired by the end of the Miami series, it was the completion of the longest season of his life. All the superstars are tired after 100+ games.

    But he needs to do it so he can get used to it, the real superstars play 40+ minutes every night in the playoffs.

    Again, he and Deng need to be able to play as many minutes as LeBron and Wade, there's no excuse why they can't.

    If Rose, at age 23, can't handle 37 minutes a night during the season and 40 during the playoffs, we've got big problems.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    I'm not talking theory, I'm talking NOW. CJ is out for another week. I don't want Rose wearing out and increasing his chance of getting hurt because of it, especially in games we're leading easily. And Lu's limping too. Wade and LeBron are out tonight against the Hawks, I wonder how that went? Care for a start without DR and Lu?

  • In reply to petert23:

    How'd that go? The Heat won, I guess it went OK for them.

    If you think these guys are going to wear out in the first 3 weeks of the season, you must think they don't work out and they smoke a pack of cigarettes a day.

    But seriously, if that's all fans can find to worry about, this team is in pretty freaking good shape!!

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    "For those who understand basic English", another Mappyism if I ever heard one.

  • fb_avatar

    Back in high school, I used to run the first leg of the 4 by 400. My strategy was to sprint as fast as I could for the first 300, get a lead and hope no one caught me! This worked for the whole season. But when we got down to sectional, I finally figured out how to get to the finals in triple jump. The only problem with this is that my last jump was like two minutes before I had to run the 2nd leg of the mile relay!

    I ran across the football field into my blocks as fast as I could, then I ran the fastest first 300 meters I EVER have. We were in fourth when I got the baton, and after my first 200 meters, I blew everyone outta the water!!!!

    When I hit the turn for the last 100 meters, my body quit on me! I literally went from 10 meters up, to DEAD last!

    The guy that beat me, also did triple jump, and high jump!

    The difference was that he had built up his endurance the whole season, so his body was ready mine wasn't.

    The point of this story is to say that, yes, Rose, Deng probably shouldn't be playing the whole second half of a game, but if they have to in order to win ANY game, I don't have a problem with it. I can tell that Rose has learned how to pace himself more too thought and that might make more of a difference than playing less minutes.

    It's way easier to shoot a three then it is to drive to the hoop on your body, so that serves a duel purpose when Rose takes 5 threes a game. Now if, Rose is a little banged up, I think limiting his or any other players minutes makes sense.

    I would only have a problem with it if they wrap up home court and Rose and Deng still play 40 minutes.

    I can also guarantee you that GarPax talks to Thibs at the beginning of every year about playing time, and they trust his judgement because the staff and trainers watch them like hawks in practice.

    If anythings, instead of cutting down game time, they should probably cut back on how hard they go in practice. I doubt that'll happen anytime soon though.

  • Spoelstra isn't a good coach. We should ask thibs to mirror his coaching performance off a bad coach. Hopefully that ends the wade and lebron play more minutes debate.

    If it doesn't., here's an argument that does. We're asking rose and deng to stop playing minutes when they don't have to. When we're up by 16 with 3 minutes left, pull them.

    If it still doesn't settle the debate, here's an awesome argument. We have Korver and brewer. When CJ comes back, we have cj too. All of those players are better than most of the players backing up wade and lebron. More importantly, they're capable of playing more minutes. In fact the want to play more minutes. If we don't need rose out there, If we don't need deng out there. play the fucking bench thibs. Stop trying to prove a point by killing our playoff hopes.

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    In reply to pinkizdead:

    That's true I agree. If they wanna really improve their endurance they can do what Rodman did. Steve Smith said he went to visit the Piston's locker room while he was playing at Michigan State. After the game he saw Rodman on the treadmill and asked what he was doing. One of the other player said, "he runs for ONE HOUR on the treadmill after EVERY game" WOW.

    I don't want Derrick, Lou, etc playing more minutes than they have to in order to avoid injuries. So a player has to make sure that they can go 40 minutes in the playoffs by doing whatever they have to do off of the court.

    Thibs job is safe for at least a few years, so they better/must have a pretty good reason for playing these guys 40 minutes.

  • In reply to Folusho Orokunle:

    Rodman was clearly a freak of nature, in so many ways.

    I wonder if riding the stairmaster for an hour after each game would help or hurt a normal guys legs the next day.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Phil Jackson said Rodman was the most athletic player he ever coached.

  • I repeat:

    THIS SEASON DENG IS #1 IN TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED AND ROSE IS #4. They're ahead of both Lebron (#5) and Wade (#29). Deng is first overall! That's ridiculous and unnecessary. And it's part of a pattern. Last season Deng was #3 in minutes played, ahead of Lebron at #6 by nearly 150 minutes, and Rose was #9, ahead of Wade at #20 by over 200 minutes.

    They play more games than LBJ and Wade; they play more overall minutes; and they have been visibly tired in playoff games. And, frankly, I don't care how many MPG Lebron and Wade are playing. I want to maximize the potential of our players, and I don't believe having them LEAD THE LEAGUE in minutes played is the most effective way to do that. Reducing their (early) regular season minutes may not be the deciding factor; that is, it may not be enough to win a championship on its own. But I certainly think it's a reasonable thing to seriously consider, which Thibs does not seem to be doing.

  • In reply to bzoooty:

    "visibly tired in playoff games" Yes, I think that's an excellent point.

    Comparing rows of numbers between Rose/Deng and Lebron/Wade is not relevant. It's about the condition of our Bulls team and as you correctly state it was obvious to all that Bulls were gassed against Miami, particularly in the 4th quarters when Miami always raised their effort into another gear.

    As you point out, unless the championship rings are given to players who lead the league in minutes, I see no purpose behind grinding Deng and Rose. It's unnecessary. It doesn't put Bulls in a better position to win.

  • In reply to bzoooty:

    Wow, those sound like compelling facts, or are they just inconvenient opinions in the eyes of MappyJR.

  • This is my favorite discussion page and community, so pardon me repeating myself in search of a direct answer. Even Sam Smith today gets on the bandwagon of what THEY used to in The Day. I'm talking about us, today. CJ is hurt, Bulls are destroying Detroit early in Q4, and I'm saying, get Lucas more minutes, you might need to count on him over the next week or so. I'm saying rest Rose AND blood Lucas. Keep your whole team as fresh and involved as possible. We don't make too many blowouts, USE them, especially in this practice-shortened season. As a BONUS, you keep legs fresher and reduce the likelihood of further injuries or tweaks to your starters. So I'm not talking some long-term philosophical shift, just an awareness of day-to-day and week-to-week adjustments to help get this team into to the playoffs with a great record and in good shape. Especially in this brutally scheduled season. Every little bit will help, and we agree that we'll need all the help we can get against Miami!

    On a separate topic, does anyone question how well DRose's strengths and skillsets mesh with those of Dwight Howard? Are they an ideally suited PG-Center pair? Compared to, say, C Paul, or A Bynum, T Duncan? I don't have a strong opinion, interested in yours,. Should probably repeat this question in another thread,..

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