Derrick Rose tweaks hamstring, marring a nice win

Well other than that how was the play Mrs. Lincoln? That's sort of the story last night as Derrick Rose tweaked his hamstring on a late drive to the basket against the Cavaliers. The Cavaliers came back out, and Rose was on the court for the next play but was then sent to the bench for the remaining three minutes while the Bulls clung to a seven point lead.

Chicago closed out the Cavaliers fine. The seven point lead stretching out to 15 before the game ended. It was the reverse of the Indiana Pacers game and felt good to watch the Bulls pull away [even without Rose] rather than get sucked back in.

The Bulls had led comfortably for most of the game, but the Cavs pushed it down to one point after a strong third and a good start to the fourth. Then their shooting went cold and both teams seemed to go an eternity without scoring. Eventually the Bulls got back on track and pulled away.

Mike Dunleavy played a huge role in the win for Chicago as he closed out the game with 10 points, two assists, three boards, and a steal in the fourth quarter alone. He missed just one shot, a wide open three that had Bulls fans groaning, but came through big time when the Bulls needed him.

He drew a rather ridiculous three shot foul by diving into a jumping player, knocked down all three free throws, and jolted the Bulls offense. It wasn't pretty, but the team had been struggling to score, and it generated some points.

With memories of Nate Robinson in their head, fans had largely railed against the Dunleavy signing, especially after a slow start. It was good to see Dunleavy play well during big moments and really key a win for the Bulls.

Derrick Rose allayed two concerns before leaving the game

While most of the talk will center around Rose's right hamstring which according to Thibodeau "appeared minor" after the game, I don't want to lose sight of two important facts about Rose's performance.

First, Derrick had his first game where his turnovers were truly under control [0] and had seven assists to boot. He still kept jump passing for no apparent reason and had a couple passes sail on him, but not so high that they flew out of bounds.

Given that Irving has quick hands and plenty of speed, it was a nice to see Derrick keep control of the ball all game. He racked up seven assists on the night as well which is more in line with his normal performance.

Worth noting that dismal team play was hurting his assists as much or more so than his passing in previous games though.

The second is Rose played very solid defense on Kyrie Irving for most of the game. He largely stayed in front of Irving or funneled him into Joakim Noah and forced Irving into a poor shooting night at just 5/19 from the field.

On offense, Rose's 8/21 isn't good, but wouldn't have been so bad except for the fact that he didn't make it to the free throw line at all. Typically if Rose takes 21 shots he's probably got a good eight free throws to go with it. If he had knocked down seven FTs then 8/21 for 23 points wouldn't seem so bad.

As it stands 16 points on 21 looks isn't such a good night on offense for Rose. Derrick looked pretty one directional while driving tonight. He hit several circus shots in the lane, but he largely knocked those down when there was a seam he could attack in a straight line.

I think his lack of free throws were more due to the defense remaining stationary while guarding him and Rose drawing contact by diving into non moving players. He needs to force the defense to move more while drawing contact in order to get the calls.

The big thing with Rose will obviously be the hamstring. Even a minor hamstring injury could nag him for quite some time and potentially cause compensatory injuries if it's bad enough. The Bulls also don't have a lot of depth in terms of guys who create shots, so they'll be hurt without Derrick more this year than when they had Nate Robinson coming off the bench.

Chicago does have three days off, so if the injury is truly just a tweak, Rose may not miss any time. I'm sure we'll find out more today.

Luol Deng 1/18 from the three point line

How's this for cringe worthy synergy. Luol Deng ended last season's playoffs 1/18 from the three point line and starts out this season with the same stat.

I don't know what happened to Luol Deng's shot, but it isn't pretty. He's also only knocked down 40% of his limited free throw attempts (4/10) and is shooting less than 40% from the field.

Yeah, Deng almost had a triple double against the worst team in the NBA, but he's kind of been awful the rest of the season, and while not alone in that regard, 1/18 from beyond the arc is a special kind of awful for a guy you expect to shoot in the mid 30s percentage wise from there.

Jimmy Butler's not a shooting guard

Anyone else notice this? Jimmy Butler broke out largely while Deng wasn't on the court with him. The two together have not meshed well and Butler looks far more comfortable at SF than shooting guard.

The thing is when Butler's defended by a bigger player his quickness is more of a strength, his pedestrian ball handling less a liability. Butler's not able to use his size for significant advantage on offense at the two, and loses much of what made him a quality player against guys who can more easily stay in front of him and stop him from attacking off the dribble.

His shooting percentages and confidence both seem way down this year. If you played a drinking game and took a shot for every time Butler passed up a wide open three to dribble into a worse position, you'd be wasted before the second quarter started.

I'll probably write more about it later, but it looks clear to me that playing Butler and Deng together isn't a good long term plan, and I'd expect that means Deng is out of here at the end of the season [which I expected anyway].

The Booz cruise keeps rolling

Hate on Boozer all you want, but Carlos keeps getting it done on offense. Another big night with great percentages even if there were a couple cringe worthy defensive plays like where he actually let a rebound bounce in front of him and had it picked up by a Cavaliers player late in the game.

For all of the negatives, the Bulls need Boozer's offense and unlikely many moments in the past, Boozer's delivering very high quality, high efficiency offense right now. I'm more than willing to live with his deficiencies while he's shooting over 60% from the field, especially when virtually everyone else is shooting a cringe worthy percentage.

Joakim Noah rides the pine at the end

Joakim had a decent game, but when he picked up his fifth foul on a stupid retaliation play, he was sent to the bench for good. Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer have been the Bulls two best players this season, and Thibodeau elected to go with the pair to close out the game.

The plan worked out just fine as the Bulls pulled away for an easy win.

That said, it wasn't all negative for Joakim, he knocked down four of five shots which was the first efficient offensive game he's had this season. Joakim is looking closer and closer to the guy we all love.

Most of his hustle stats are still off the charts, and his offense is coming around. He looks more in control off the dribble and more in tune with the team. While Joakim isn't the biggest center piece of the offense, once he's fully in sync with everyone else I expect a considerable boost to the team offense.

His passing provides plenty of opportunities for others, and while he's not a dominant player in the paint he still forces double teams when he gets in there and then passes well out of them.

Taj continues his strong play

Taj Gibson looks like a new man this season. He looks refreshed, polished, and is playing at a high level. Taj is a starting caliber PF right now, and the Bulls need to find a way to get him on the court more than they do.

It was nice to see him close out the game, and if Carlos keeps playing this well then the Gibson/Boozer lineup is one we'll see plenty more of. The Bulls got a big boost when they went to the bench in this game, and Gibson's a big reason why.

Now we'll just hope for health

Stacey King and Neil Funk bizarrely refused to acknowledge the injury at all. The twitter reaction was panic-ridden. Thibodeau, who couldn't know much at the time anyway, said it appeared minor.

Fans will simply now collectively hold their breath and wait to see the prognosis. However, I'm not overly concerned. Even if Rose were to miss a couple of weeks with a hamstring injury, it's not a long term problem.

It certainly darkens the mood a bit and sets up more fears that Rose may simply be more injury prone now, but in the end, we need players healthy in May. This injury doesn't look to be a long term one.

Comments

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  • Hopefully Rose just misses a game or two. Not a big deal as long as he does not try to be a hero and play through it. He needs to remember that it's November.

    Good point about Deng/Butler, Doug. You may be on to something. Whether it's Deng, or the 2 vs the 3, Butler looks like a different player than late last season.

    Deng is gone. Period. Bulls need to move on from him anyway, but this solidifies it for me. Here we go again, searching for that elusive 2 guard! (I'd seriously consider trading Noah for a strong 2... Noah would be missed, but he adds zero offense and average at best rim protection. I think it's easier to find a hustling center than a skillful 2 guard.)

  • In reply to Granby:

    The thing is, it should be a lot easier to find a 2 guard who can shoot than a C that is one of the best defensively at his position. Not sure why the Bulls have struggled to fill this position.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Lack of resources is really all it comes down to. It's hard to get a really good player for any position when you have 3 million dollars or a late round draft pick to use to fill it.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    It's even harder when you draft a backup PG you don't really need just because he dropped in the draft, rather than the SG you were planning on drafting.

  • In reply to Edward:

    or even a back up big to replace Asik, I noticed in Sam Smiths column yesterday that Plumlee(can keep track of which one) who was drafted by the Pacers 2 years ago, and traded in the Scola deal, is averaging a double double so far this season. Which means that he is at least a ueseful player, which is far more than we can say for Teague, who really none of us liked from day one.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    For all the praise the Bulls get for drafting late, the last two - Teague and Snell - seem to be evening the score.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Factor in the loss of the late-drafted Asik, and the draft results really aren't that remarkable.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    What does Plumlee have to do with Teague?

    Plumlee was drafted 4 spots ahead of Teague, so the Bulls couldn't have drafted him even if they wanted to.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    What does Plumlee have to do with Teague?

    Plumlee was drafted 4 spots ahead of Teague, so the Bulls couldn't have drafted him even if they wanted to.

    Are there any centers drafted after Teague who are doing anything in the league? (Spoiler- the answer is a resounding "no").

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Yea, I am aware of that, and I figured that somebody would point that out(most likely in a snarky way).

    To quote "Plumlee was drafted 4 spots ahead of Teague, so the Bulls couldn't have drafted him even if they wanted to". Really, even it they wanted to. Is there a new clause in the CBA that disallows trades to move up in the draft that the rest of us are not aware of.

    Plumlee was one of the guys that I liked for the Bulls and since he was basically a bust(ghost) with Indy last seaason, I took particular notice of his mention in SSS's article. Besides if the Bulls had a plan, other than waiting around aimlessly to see who falls in their lap they could have made a move up into the low 20's to get their guy, instead the waited around and settled for a mope a dope.

    In case you haven't noticed I can never get enough bigmen who play physically and give you energy and effort. For instance, I loved Scott Williams on the 3 peat Bulls but I didn't much care for Stacey King, even though one clearly came into the league with more reputed talent.

    Anyway, what it does have to do with Teague, is that most of us didn't feel that 3rd string pg was a need that year, while extra bigman clearly was and this year too for that matter. I guess we will know round about this time next year if Snell(at the expense of Luol's half brother, Georgiu)was as wrong of a pick just as Teague appears to be.

  • In reply to Edward:

    So which SG did the Bulls pass on that are doing anything in the league?

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    So now you are a fan of the Teague pick?
    I think BigWay (above) makes the resounding point that a backup PG was the last thing Bulls needed and other options existed.

    Bulls have done well when they traded up in the draft. Really liked how in 2011 Bulls traded up 5 spots from 28 to 23 for merely a 2nd and some cash. Wish they employed it more often.

    While Bulls have made a few very good late-draft picks, however imo, they are somewhat passive when it comes to roster asset management and trades. Granby, on this thread, makes the excellent point that Bulls could have matched Asik and then traded Noah for an asset, instead of simply losing Asik for nothing. Or possibly traded Asik at a later date after matching.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Makes sense. Bulls are strong at 4 of the 5 starting positions and have a strong bench (though some folks here can't see it), you can't be great at every position. No other team is.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    The new CBA is working, nobody can afford to be strong everywhere unless they're willing to swallow a massive tax bill. It's not just the Bulls who are playing musical chairs with their bench, signing whoever will come cheap on a short deal.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Eh, the Bulls haven't always been looking for a two guard. They've been looking for one since losing Ben Gordon, but for the longest time they were looking for quality big men, now they have those instead.

    What we really have here is a situation where once you use up all of your cap room, and still have a weakness, that weakness is hard to fill regardless of what position it comes at.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Yes, yes. But 2-way wing players are harder to find than a big man who is good (not great) defensively and provides very little offense except for his passing.

    Doug - you said it yourself in that Deng will get nothing close to $12 million if he cannot improve offensively. There are plenty of defensive wings that rebound for $3-6 million.

    I love Noah, but he's a hustle guy with limited skills offensively. He is a good defender, but provides little rim protection, which is the most valuable attribute, IMO, and why Asik was so valuable and kept Noah on the bench late in games.

  • Solid breakdown, Doug. But I say give Deng more time. He was not able to work out like he normally would over the summer because of that spinal tap mess ... his midrange game will come back, as will some of his (limited) playmaking, and he'll always play smart D. While he'll never be a great 3-point shooter, the 1-for-18 bad will hopefully fade.

    The Deng-Butler point is a good one, though. Butler does look more comfortable at the 3 and we've seen he can guard all 3s, including LeBron. I see him more as a Kahwi Leonard type (great defender first, great finisher and all-around athlete, decent shooter but so unselfish and occasionally loses confidence) rather than a standard 2-guard, anyway ... but that leaves Deng out of the equation.

    Can the Bulls FO trade Deng for a serviceable 2-guard? Eric Gordon for example? His injury history, however, scares the bejesus out of me. And he's got that overpaid contract. What the Pelicans were doing when they thought that having Tyreke Evans AND Eric Gordon on the same team is a much worse situation than the Bulls, btw.

    It's just tragicomical how the Bulls can never put a decent 2-guard next to Rose. You know, a dude who can shoot the 3, handle the ball and playmake a bit, and then be a solid defender on the opposite end. Butler emerged last year as that possibility, but that may be too optimistic. Belinelli was that version on offense but would get abused on D. So can the Bulls get a Victor Olidipo type in the upcoming draft? The 6'4" guy who fits the bill? Or is there a player out there who would make sense? The NBA has NEVER had a weaker bunch at the shooting guard, frankly. Just look through the teams and you see bench players playing the 2 ...

  • In reply to Curious E:

    Two guard should be the LEAST important player on the team with Derrick Rose.

    It'd be more tragic if they surrounded Rose by horrible big men.

    While we pick on the two guard spot because it's easily the weakest on the team, if your strongest position is your other guard, then that's probably where you want your weak spot.

    Having a great two guard would be a huge plus, but having a great player at any other position is even more valuable if you have a great PG as you'd have diminishing returns from having a great two where the skills would overlap more.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Wrong. This teams needs the 3 ball. Butler and Deng are unable to consistently nail the 3 ... and only Dunleavy off the bench can hit it, as Hinrich is another lousy option from behind the line. And oh, D Rose still cannot shoot the 3.

    You don't win the NBA playoffs without at least 2 of the 3 (PG, SG and SF) being able to hit 3s. The Spurs and Heat? Check. The Pacers and Nets? Check. The Rockets and the Warriors? Check. The Clippers and the Thunder? Check.

    Hmm, perhaps it's time to give Eric Murphy some run. I'm half-kidding ...

  • In reply to Curious E:

    You've changed the argument a bit. The Bulls need shooting, but that doesn't mean they need a secondary shot creator at shooting guard.

    The number of shooting guards in the league who can shoot the three and create off the dribble can probably be counted on one hand.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    While I agree with your general thesis, the bulls don't have a great player at any other position either. Really, besides Rose, everybody on this team is a role player and more or less a pedestrian NBA player. Just a bunch of non descript guys, who you could replace with a bunch of other non descript guys and not really change the results all that much.

  • In reply to Curious E:

    As for an Oladipo type, no, they can't. He was picked #2 in the draft, and the Bulls will be picking near the end. They're lucky they got a Jimmy Butler type at 30.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Obviously, I'm talking about a Oladipo in the rough ... kind of like how the Bulls hope that Snell will turn into Kawhi Leonard one day.

  • In reply to Curious E:

    Maybe, but you're likely to get the Tony Snell of shooting guards then. A guy who looks the part but isn't anywhere close to playing it.

    I mean you always hope for the best of course, but just historically the odds of the Bulls getting a quality player of any type late in the draft are low.

    The odds of getting a quality player at a specific position with a specific skillset are then much, much lower still.

  • In reply to Curious E:

    Well assume that Rose is going to round back into form and the Bulls win 55 or so games. They're going to pick in the mid to late 20s. How many "Oladipo in the rough"s are picked at that spot?

    If the Bulls want that type of player they're going to have to hope the Bobcat pick works out to be a good one, or trade it and/or Mirotic's rights. Drafting him with their own pick is a very low percentage chance.

  • the Bulls are missing a true shooting guard and might want to think of getting one. The C's for example are loaded at shooting guard and that backcourt will get more crowded with the return of rondo. They're not even playing Marshon Brooks who showed in his first year he could score. Knowing the Bulls, they'll probably wait for a buyout candidate. Maybe they can get Ben Gordon from a buyout in late season? It doesn't matter since Thibodeau is stubborn and would never change the starting lineup or bench. Every time the bulls get a player in midseason, thibodeau never plays them which to me is sad since our bench kind of needs more scoring and shooting. Snell and Murphy have been disappointments so far, the shooters that can't shoot nor defend.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    The guys we've gotten midseason have kind of sucked though. Can't blame Thibs for that.

    I'd be interested to see if Gordon would come back as a buyout candidate or if the Bulls would court him as one. That'd be curious if it happened.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    his best times were here.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    Can we stop with the Ben Gordon man crush, please?

  • In reply to Edward:

    Come on who doesn't love the Baby BozoHole.

  • Pretty sure what Dunleavy did was legal. I think You can still jump into contact, but you can't jumpy forward into the contact. Getting your player up in the air, and then jumping to take the shot is how dwayne wade makes a living. I think the key words are "position that it not normal"

    "a. A player shall not hold, push, charge into, impede the progress of an oppo-nent by extending a hand, forearm, leg or knee or by bending the body into a posi-tion that is not normal. Contact that results in the re-routing of an opponent is a foul which must be called immediately. "

  • I agree. The Bulls should bring back Ben Gordon, and pair him alongside Klank Hinrich just like old times. Trade Rose, bring back Tyrus from what retirement..? Yes, and Deng and Noah with their chronic ailments and lackluster on the decline play we'll be rockin' and rollin' with the 2000's crew.

    If Deng can shoot even 44% with 15ppg or more and what 33% from three and Noah can stay on the court with 9ppg and 9 rebounds shooting above 46% I'll take it all back.

    Still, it's hard not to think the Bulls kept this crusty core together way too long when they had opportunities to reload with Lillard etc. I just don't see how anybody can watch this team right now. What'd they shoot 41% again? Sheez.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    You can keep dreaming, but he Bulls were never getting the 6th pick or higher in that draft for Luol Deng. The rest of the league isn't as enamored of a 2 time fake allstar as many on this site are.

  • Don't know where you got the 4 out of 10 from the free throw line for Deng, he's 20 from 21 for the season (only Carlos shot more) second in percentage only to Dunleavy who knocked all his 8 free throws, hell he was 6 out of 6 just last night.

    Deng's three point shooting has been abysmal so far, other than that though - he's second in points and steals, third in rebounds after the three bigs, first in assists and has only 1.8 turnovers per game (he's second in ast/tov ratio on the entire team). Sure, a lot of it is because of his good game against Utah but last time I checked he wasn't the only Bull playing against them.

    It's a shame that he's bricking all his three point shots because his two point shot percentage is fine - 50%, if he was able to shoot just 23% from three he would've had a respectable 53.1% TS%.

  • Anyway the Bulls could pry Wes Matthews loose around the all star break if the Blazers are out of the race? He's a guy I think would fit in perfectly. Has another year left after this one around 5 mil, ship Deng out, involve a 3rd team if need be, add a draft pick or Teague, slide Butler to the 3...

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Heck, what about CJ Miles from the Cavs, he certainly appears to be a shooting guard who can shoot.

  • I thought we were talking about Eric Gordon not Ben Gordon.
    Rose is more of a SG than a PG anyways. Could start Rose at SG, Kirk at PG. I agree Deng and Butler don't compliment each other.
    Rose would lose his bulldog advantage at SG but right now we could use Kirk to manage the starting group as Rose is way too rusty to do that right now! Hopefully Rose is close to his old self by the 1st of December!

  • I really wish we traded Noah to OKC for Harden and kept Asik. Maybe the Bulls would have had to absorb Perk's deal, but he gets paid less than Noah (until next year, obviously) and it would only mean that we would have to give up less - ie, not give up the Charlotte pick and/or Mirotic. Sometimes you gotta pay more to win. Ask the Yankees. Ask the Red Sox.

    Pie in the sky, I know. But, imagine, Rose, Harden, Butler, Mirotic (if we fought to keep him and gave away picks), Asik over the next couple years...

  • In reply to Granby:

    Correction: I was thinking about Asik's salary next year at near max, not Noah. So, having Asik and Perk would have been a load next year (about $24 mil-ish). But, then Perk rolls off and Asik can get a new deal at a lower, more even level.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Perkins is amnesty eligible.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Seeing Thibs reaction to Harden not even pretending to play defense would be fun to watch.

    Never going to happen anyway, the Bulls aren't going miles into the tax like that.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Well, if OKC were as smart as they are cracked up to be, they would have offered us Harden for Asik and some of our other assets. I was called crazy for suggesting that Asik for Harden made some sense for both teams, as many(most) people here said that Asik wasn't even as good as the slug known as Kendrick Perkins. OKC may have finally lucked out in the bigman department with this Adams kid.

    But you are right in thinking that having both Noah and Asik, means that you have 2 very valuable asset when trade opportunities come up, which was my argument for keeping Asik from day one, especially since he would only cost us $5 million per this season and last.

  • Funny thing about Deng. he currently has a better PER & Win Score than his two "all star" seasons. The 1/18 shooting is just small sample size theatre, we know he's not a three point threat but he's better than that.

    He's still gone at the end of the season (in an ideal world mid season in a trade but I can't see the Bulls taking on salary), but lets not pretend he's been awful. He's been the same Luol Deng he's been for years, just a few threes he'd normally hit didn't go in.

  • Last year we debated what Butlers best position was, but I think that we all assumed that he could play 2 guard when Deng returned. My gut told me that Butler was better as a slightly undersized small forward than he is as a big 2 guard. I certainly think that he makes a bigger impact on D at small forward. Maybe that is what we are seeing this year.

    He seems to have worked his way into Thibs doghouse, at least in the second half last night. Now that Dunleavy had a decent game, I wonder if part of that is that he might be a lot more effective playing with Rose(or Rose and Hinrich) than just Hinrich.

    Of course, if that is indeed the case, then it opens up the question of starting him vs keeping him on the bench. That would obviously come at Jimmy's expense. Since Dunleavy is signed for 2 years, it might be worth finding out this season if he can start next to Rose, with Jimmy stepping in for Deng next season.

    We know that this is not the way that Thibs operates, so I would expect Jimmy to keep his starting job throughout the season, even if it becomes Boganized.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Great coaches experiment to find effective combos, especially when what they are playing isn't working well. So, Thibs should do it.

    As for Butler, what has changed since last year? Only thing I can see is Rose is back. Wouldn't that make Butler better?

    As for the doghouse, everyone except Boozer and Taj belong there this year (so far). Who would have guessed that of the 5 starters Boozer would be the most consistent? Not me! In fact, I still do not believe it.

  • Jimmer isn't getting much playing time in Sacramento even with Evans gone! The Celtics have lots of SGs. I agree that we have a pretty good PF/C rotation starting and off the bench but need some major help at the guard spot especially SG. If we had a decent PG off the bench besides Kirk I would say to Start Kirk at PG and Rose at SG, but with having Butler designated to start and trying to be our future, and Deng still here we can't do that. We desperately need better shooting in our starting lineup even Dunleavy starting at SG/SF would help alot! I didn't like us paying so much for JJ Redick (Orlando matched us) but he sure would have gone a long way on this team who has terrible shooting early on in the season! Hurts to not have Nate here who is very streaky but is not afraid to shoot and is such a little pitbull with so much heart! Why couldn't that be rewarded with a contract in such a big market as Chicago!? It sucks!

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