Bulls defeat Raptors but leave with more Derrick Rose worries

Bulls defeat Raptors but leave with more Derrick Rose worries

My heart skipped a beat. There was Derrick Rose going down with another non contact injury. The first angle made it look like his knee buckled. Oh #!@#$. Then the reverse angle showed clearly that his left ankle gave way on him and his leg just kind of jammed up.

This is the type of thing that happens when you're going hard on an ankle that probably feels okay but isn't 100% okay underneath yet. After the game, it was his hamstring which was said to have tightened up. The injury deemed minor enough that an MRI may not even be required.

The injury comes after a day of Derrick Rose drama.

"I feel I’ve been managing myself pretty good," Rose said. "I know a lot of people get mad when they see me sit out. But I think a lot of people don’t understand that when I sit out it’s not because of this year. I’m thinking about long-term. I’m thinking about after I’m done with basketball, having graduations to go to, having meetings to go to. I don’t want to be in my meetings all sore or be at my son’s graduation all sore just because of something I did in the past. Just learning and being smart."

He didn't back off the comments yesterday saying he could care less and was just being himself. The comments were stupid. They just enrage a fan base already frustrated with his injuries and make him look like he simply doesn't care enough.

In the end, the comments are just comments, either Rose will get and stay healthy long enough to help the Bulls or he won't. If he does fans won't care about such comments if he doesn't then they'll hate him regardless what he says.

In the end, fans are like that. Personally, whether he's being honest, himself, or whatever, saying such a thing is a pretty lousy PR move, and it continues along the trend that Derrick Rose has very little grasp on how to speak to the media and of how he's perceived.

Fortunately, championships aren't won or lost by perception. Unfortunately, they do require your star players to stay healthy and play well.

And on to the actual game...

Basketball is a game of runs, and that was never so apparent as it was in this game. The teams traded blows in the first quarter with frequent lead changes. Toronto pulled away in a second quarter started with poor bench play again, but punctuated by the starters inability to get much done.

In the third, the Bulls turned on their A game and annihilated the Raptors taking control of the game. Everything rolled along smoothly until five or so minutes left when Toronto went small and trapped the Bulls at every possession and took an 18 point lead down to five in a few minutes.

Then Derrick Rose went out.

Things started to actually look pretty bleak for the Bulls despite a five point lead, but Jimmy Butler bailed them out by creating a shot off the dribble and knocking down the long mid range jumper. It's a shot you don't love, it's a shot the Raptors were probably content to live with, but it's the shot that probably saved the game.

The momentum which was unstoppable a moment earlier was slowed, and the Raptors were never able to draw any closer.

Is Pau Gasol better than Carmelo Anthony?

Bulls fans should ask themselves this question. Would the team even be better if you just swapped Carmelo and Pau? The Bulls would have also likely lost Dunleavy and mirotic for certain, possibly McDermott, and maybe Gibson, but even ignoring those losses, so far Pau Gasol has kicked Carmelo's ass in the NBA this season.

Pau Gasol kept the Bulls afloat in the second period when the Raptors were in danger of running away with this thing. Pau gave Chicago efficient scoring when they needed him to and made great use of his size all night.

He drew a foul on a key possession in the end game to get to the free throw line while the Bulls still couldn't throw the ball into the ocean. The commentators couldn't stop gushing about how rejuvenated he looks, and it was hard to argue last night.

Teamwork is key

The Bulls ha 26 assists on 37 baskets. That's not some incredible rate that we'll rarely see again in our lifetime, but what makes it interesting is the way they were spread out. Noah and Butler each had six assists. Kirk Hinrich was next with five, followed by Derrick Rose with four.

The Bulls are able to initiate their offense from may different points of attack. Everyone is willing and able to share the ball and that got them plenty of quality looks.

Overall, I'm not sure the Bulls even played that well overall in this game. Derrick Rose had a pedestrian night prior to getting hurt. Aaron Books had his second off night of the year. Chicago had one of its worst performances from beyond the arc.

For everything that went well for them to build up a dominating lead, it really wasn't one of their crispest performances. That bodes really well for them getting better and matching up against the elite teams as the season wears on and later on in the playoffs.

Hats off to Jimmy Butler

Besides the key basket which effectively stopped the Raptors run, he knocked down free throws at the end, rebounded well, and held the Raptors best player to a dismal performance.

DeMar DeRozan was dropping 20 on everyone, against Jimmy he had 10 points on 3-17 shooting. That was more or less the game for Toronto. They couldn't overcome their leading scorer throwing up a turd of a game. Butler did exactly what he needed to.

He kept DeRozan off the free throw line, forced him to make tough jumpers, and watched him fail. Overall the Bulls held the Raptors to just 39.3% shooting from the field which was a dominant performance on the road against a very good offense.

Things about to get interesting

The Bulls play the Pacers on Saturday in Chicago before heading out onto the road. Then they play the Clippers, suddenly red hot Kings, and Blazers. Hopefully Derrick Rose is back and able to stay on the court at that point.

Bulls fans will get a chance to see how they fare against real competition on a night after night basis in this stretch, but it won't be much of a measuring stick if Derrick is unable to go.

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  • Another relevant comparison of Pau to Melo is how the ball tends to stick to Pau. It certainly isn't a case of the "ball popping from side to side" as Thibs likes to say. It is fine when Pau makes his shots as he did last night, but when he doesn't we will all notice how stagnant the offense becomes when the ball is in his hands.

    The second unit performance last night was unwatchable. At some point Thibs will have to think about how he uses McDermott and Mirotic. If all they do is play 5-8 minutes a game with the second unit there is no way they will be ready to contribute when the playoffs roll around, and I think at least one, if not both, of those guys will have to be a real contributor if the team wants to compete for a title. I suspect injuries will allow those two to get meaningful minutes at some point during the season, but if somehow that doesn't happen I just don't see those guys being playoff-ready. Thibs is certainly the anti-Pop when it comes to developing younger players. He seems to have a forest and trees problem. Last night was a perfect example of what makes Thibs so good and so maddening at the same time. It was a great road win against a good team, and Thibs was all-in in trying to win it. Great, but you could also see M&M lose even more of their confidence. The holy grail is being able to both win and develop the young guys. That is why Pop is head to the HOF. The jury is still out on Thibs.

    Butler is getting more expensive by the day. He is now the team's security blanket. I feel best about the team when he is on the floor, more so than any player on the team other than Rose and on some days if I had to choose between the two I would take Jimmy.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    Butler has developed fine under Thibs.

    I think Butler is going to get very close to max (or at max) and we just have to deal with it. The good news is that the cap and the luxury tax should be going way up in a couple years, so it should be an easier pill to swallow. Bulls should easily pay up to the luxury tax if the team is a contender. Bulls would probably go over the tax here and there, too, as they showed last year before aborting after the Rose injury. Butler is the type of player that you pay for - young and does everything. Plays big minutes. He gets to the line. In general, shooting improves as guys age, so you just hope he can shoot well from the corners and you are set.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Buying high on a guy who isn't a league wide superstar usuall doesn't turn out to well. That said Butler is turning into the player that we dreamed he might after the playoff of 2013. The question is, what happened last year(and why) and is this year the infamous contract season. Butler doesn't seem like that kind(contract) of guy. I suppose if we get him at the max under the current cap and CBA, then maybe the deal won't feel so bad down the road.

    Jimmy's midrange game has been really impressive. You have to give him credit for spending the offseason working on that part of his game specifically after studying MJ and Kobe to get better. Frankly, I hope that he doesn't try to transition to a 3 point game, other than the corner 3 and continues to work on the game he has shown us so far this season. Trying to transition to a 3 point game didn't work out very well for Deng or Rose.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Buying high on a guy who isn't a league wide superstar usually doesn't turn out that well, but the vast majority of those bad contracts are 3rd or 4th contracts, players who just left their prime. Jimmy is going for his 2nd contract and first negotiation, 2nd contracts are generally the most valuable(as in performance per dollar, not trade value) in the NBA aside from unicorns like Lebron's Miami deal, or some rookie deals where a player is immediately an all star(like Lebron's rookie deal). Based on history and Jimmy's career progression thus far, you can safely assume he's going to continue to get better for the next 5 years, and that his shot will improve even beyond that point. Since the max he can get is limited by his years played the situation isn't that dire. Really the dire situation would be if he falls off quite a bit by years end, and someone still offers him the max; then you've got a big problem and nightmares of Omer Asik in all likelihood.

  • In reply to bjb57:

    Also, Butler was the last pick in the 1st round!!! We should be so lucky to develop our rookies so that they become max guys! If Mirotic and McDermott come along in a couple years, and our two picks next year turn out ok (assuming Sactown hits), Bulls will have a fountain of youth.

  • In reply to Granby:

    The early returns on McPillsbury are not looking too promising.

  • In reply to BigWay:


  • Carmelo is a blackhole and so far struggling with the triangle. The spread out assists would not happen with Carmelo on the roster plus Rose would probably struggle to play alongside him.

    Anyway who needs Carmelo when you have Jimmy Butler putting up a Lebron Triple Double last night. His offense has been consistent so far.

    Hope Rose is good to go against the Clippers, Chris Paul hasn't been himself so far this season.

  • In reply to Jamie W:

    Discussing Carmelo vs Gasol today certainly seems like a prisoner of the moment argument. Gasol did a good job of taking advantage of his size last night, but we shouldn't expect this very often, however much fun it was to watch. Heck it could end up being his best game of the season. I'm sure Melo will throw up some big/huge numbers at some point this season.

    It might be a good day to ask where all the Gasol is barely better than boozer crowd is at. Even when boozer scored 27+ points he never looked that good doing it, and it seemed to accompany a losing effort.

    Considering that we are still one good/great wing scorer(Dunleavy is nothing more than a space holder) away from being a great team, you can't really dismiss the impact that Melo would have had. But getting Gasol for only $7 million per and not having to deplete the team of any other assets is looking like the best non Cleveland move of this past offseason.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Is it really a prisoner of the moment thing when you're talking about a near 10 game sample? When both players are in new systems? You'd logically expect a total system overhaul for a player is going to cause some kind of change in their production, could be for the better or worse. You'd also expect that player to grasp the new system better as the year goes on, even if they haven't totally grasped it yet come playoffs, safe to say they'll be better than they were at season's start. Thus far Melo has struggled in his new system, Pau has flourished; and history suggests they'll both get more comfortable and effective in their respective systems as the year progresses. Irregardless, the question isn't Pau v Melo. It's Pau v Melo minus Taj, Mirotic, Pau, and Jimmy next year(you can't pay him the max with Melo on the books). Melo is going to get much better, but if Pau can provide the offense and leadership he's provided thusfar, at his dollar amount? Without the loss of a key contributor, a young asset, and a budding quasi-star? There's no question. Now if Rose goes down again for the year then you might be able to argue it, but even then its not clear cut which scenario would win out.

  • In reply to Chicagosportsguru:

    It is a prisoner of the moment argument because Doug only brought it up after Gasol had his most dominating game of the season, an outlier type game.

    Also, few if any of us were really advocates of getting Melo if it required gutting the team. The Bulls offer to Melo reflected this also.
    I was on record as saying I would only do it via a sign and trade involving boozers contract and draft picks, which I believe would have allowed us to keep the full MLE, which was enough to bring in Mirotic. So in that regard the analysis becomes mostly straight up Gasol vs Melo(who just happens to have put up 46 last night, albeit in a losing cause) minus Doug McDermott and some future undrafted players.

    We all had some ambivalence about obtaining Melo, but lets not fool ourselves now, we would have done Olympic size cartwheels had Melo picked the Bulls, and Melo is clearly the better player at this point of their respective careers, and will likely be regarded as the better individual player when theirs careers are finished.

    Many if not most Bulls fans were initially less than thrilled with the Gasol signing, but like I said above, it now looks to be the best non Cleveland move of the offseason. Also, like I said before, I'm fairly shocked that he picked the Bulls over the entire group of quality suitors that he had to chose from, SA, OKC, Miami, the Lakers and Knicks.

    Another overlooked factor with Gasol is his total professionalism as a player and overall decent human being. Gasol has quickly and quietly established himself as a locker room leader, whereas boozer was closer to a team cancer even if the cancer was unseen to the naked eye.

    Clearly the Bulls would be much weaker(maybe even an outright weakness) in the frontcourt without Gasol, but our current glaring weakness at the wings would have become a strength with Melo. Maybe things worked out for the best, but we will never really know, unless we win a title with Gasol.

  • Pau was simply awesome last night. Night and day from the preseason. Most skilled big man in the league. Just hope Thibs doesn't grind him into dust. Rose was rusty but impressive. He got to the rim a lot and just couldn't get calls. This team can win a championship if they can stay healthy and develop some continuity. Rose needs to sit until his ankle is 100% healthy. This is silly. This kid plays hard and has had his last two seasons end on the operating table. He needs to take it slowly and build his base back up. Pushing him out there early will destroy his career.

  • In reply to piggy7:

    Totally agree with Rose taking it slow. Rose is just not good at talking with the media and his statement about not being sore in meetings later in life just sounds like nails on a chalkboard to anyone. He needs to just talk to the media less, IMO. That goes for Reggie, too, because he's due to spout off some idiotic opinions soon.

    At this time of year, any player, but especially Rose, should not feel like they can't sit out a game or two to get back to 100%. Sometimes you sacrifice a game here or there to make sure your stars are healthy for the long-run and we need Rose to be healthy for the west coast trip!

  • In reply to Granby:

    Personally I couldn't care less about what Rose says, its all mindless babbling. I just want to see him be and play healthy. Whatever he needs to do to do that is all that I care about. Only he knows how his body feels, so ultimately it is up to him. In that sense I agree with him, when he says he doesn't care what other people think or say.

    However, he could make it a lot easier on himself if he would just shut the F up, while we(and the media) leave him the F alone.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    lol He is truly awful at speaking. Devin Hester was like, you needed a translator at times to piece together his dialect, but he wasn't constantly crapping the PR bed; or if he was we didn't know it.. Rose on the other hand is just constantly saying things that baffle me in their stupidity and shocking untimeliness. He has to be the most poorly counseled player in the league PR wise. We all know his agent situation, as well as his 'brother' situation, maybe I'm soft on Rose but when stuff like this happens I find myself directing most of my anger towards those two power drunk puppeteers. Rose seems like an impressionable kind kid with a low IQ and great athletic ability. I don't think he grasps any of this stuff, and he tends to simply mirror the thoughts of BJ and dumbass in his interviews. I can literally hear Derrick Rose's big bro, dumbass, saying the words that Rose so ill advisedly uttered the other day. I refer to Derrick's totally irrelevant brother as dumbass because he is the worse kind of leach, one who isn't happy enough to simply live off his host, but must make his name, presence, and thoughts known to both the media, and the Bulls organization.

  • Thibs may have to be willing to sacrifice some Ws to get M & M the court time they need. Not only that, but they need to play with the starters at least a fair amount of the time.

    McD still missing wide open looks that he usually hit in college. This is in the head. What gives with him?

    If Butler had been healthy for Cleveland, the Bulls would be 8-1. Health may be the biggest factor in how far the Bulls go this year.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    I think you made a great point about M and M playing with the starters some. This would be a way to BUILD CONFIDENCE with those two, especially McD. The cost, I think, very little in some games. In others, maybe a lot. Dunleavy is more consistent, to be sure. He can score 15-20 on some nites, yet 5-10 on others. Thus your point, and mine, that it will cost us a game here and there. I hope Thibs starts to agree with us.

  • The Bulls is still a work-in-progress team, but their celling is very high. Pau is at another level compared with Boozer of 2010 and Rose's health is the determining factor of this team winning a title. So, managing his minutes and shutting him down even when minor injuries arise is a good way to keep him somewhat healthy for the playoffs.

    The other major concern is with the bench rotation. It is obvious that having M&M playing at the same time is damaging their development and the team. Not only the defense drops substantially, but also the offense does not flow well either. Hopefully Thibs will address the rotation soon.

  • In reply to BullsDynasty:

    Come on man, what are you talking about, Gasol isn't any better than 2010 boozer, that guy was an all star.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    yeah man what are you nuts? "Get it Jo!"

  • Thibs' rotation sucks. First he replaces Noah with Gibson, fine. Then he replaces Rose with Hinrich. Why Hinrich and not Brooks? But no real harm done since then Brooks comes in for Dunleavy, and the group of Brooks, Hinrich, Butler, Gibson and Gasol plays quite well.

    Then comes the start of the second quarter, and Thibs puts Brooks, Hinrich, McDoug, Gibson and Niko out there. McDoug and Niko at the same time? McDoug with no Butler? Niko at C? Train wreck that nearly costs us the game, as a 2-3 point lead becomes a 7-8 point deficit. They turn the ball over 7 times and go over 4 minutes without hitting a field goal.

    Three things need to change and I'm frustrated if Thibs doesn't see this: 1) Either Noah or Gasol need to be on the floor at all times. If they're each going to play only 30 minutes -- ideal, IMO -- then they should only play 6 minutes together. 2) Along with this, Gibson and Niko should not be on the floor at the same time. Neither can play C and neither can play SF IMO. 3) Hinrich really shouldn't play much. He's becoming an increasing liability at both ends of the floor. He can spell Jimmy a bit since there isn't really anyone else to do it. Otherwise, Brooks is so much better at PG. 4) Start McDoug, bring Dunleavy off the bench. I wrote that three things needed to change, this isn't as critical but would still be better for the team.

    To start the second quarter in this scenario, your second unit would effectively be Noah, Niko, Dunleavy, Hinrich and Brooks. The difference between my rotation and Thibs' besides having Noah at C and Niko at PF is that if Butler isn't going to be out there, Hinrich + Dunleavy might be slow but at least they are good team defenders and know where to be, which McDoug isn't as of yet. Then you replace the five I just mentioned with Gasol, Gibson, Butler, McDoug and Rose to close the first half. To close the game, Noah and Dunleavy replace Gibson and McDoug.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I like your suggesstions. Definitely something to try. Will Thibs try it? I am skeptical.

    Another possibility - start Niko for Noah! Not likely, Thibs loves D and Noah is much better on D than Mirotic. (Same reason he will not start McD.)

    However, Mirotic does play some D, plus he can score inside and out. The Bulls need to get him on the floor moro he can adjust to the NBA, and this might work.

    Besides, Noah plays out of his best position when he and Gasol are on the floor together. I also like holding down the minutes of Noah and Gasol. These guys are not young and the team needs both healthy for the playoffs.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Several people on this forum brought up this issue at the beginning of the season. Bulls have two Cs and two PFs, why play two Cs together and then two PFs together instead of pairing a C with a PF like has been done since the beginning of time? It makes little sense. One C should almost always be on the court.

    And DPY Noah deserves time at C so he should play every minute that Gasol sits.

    Further evidence that Thibs is not a great coach. Thibs can get away with these boneheaded moves in the regular season, but these flaws will be exposed in the playoffs.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    This could be the best post of the season.

    I think that you've hit on almost every reason that I'm finding the Bulls so painful to watch this season. Many of which I've been harping on since preseason. You and I both know that there is very little chance that Thibs makes any significant non injury changes to his lineups. Once he gets something in his mind, it is pretty much set in stone, or is it concrete(or C ment as the civilians call it).

    It is plainly obvious that Thibs is going to go with an 8 rotation, with Gibson the 6th man, Hangdog 7th and Brooks 8th. Brooks only hope is for Hangdog to wear down and get injured.

    Keeping one of Gasol or Noah on the court at all times, either means less time for Gibson, and/or virtually no time for Mirotic, or much less time for both Gasol and Noah, which one of those you got.

    I've been a proponent of starting McPillsbury, but boy he sure hasn't looked like he deserves it. Can a team that starts Dunleavy really be a champion.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I'm not so sure it's plausible to expect a real 8 man rotation when you've got Derrick and Noah on hard minutes limits, and Gasol basically saying I decide when I'm healthy enough to go and if you play me 40 minutes a game I'll sit out when its catching up to me. Thibs has responded by limiting Pau's minutes, as well as meeting Rose and Noah's limits. Sure these aren't exactly by choice, but he isn't threatening to tear up his contract in protest either. You get the veiled complaints in his pressers but who cares if the players aren't getting burnt out and he's still coaching his ass off. I get the complaints about Thibs and agree, on a lot of them at least, but I really can't understand why you guys would be so bleak on your outlook of Thibs this season. More than ever, the biggest negative that comes with Thibs is being neutralized, he isn't burning the hell out of his players, specifically his at risk important players. In regards to his roster and lineup choices through 9 games and going forward, I think you're being a bit unfair. You make statements like "Either Pau or Noah should be on the floor at all times, no matter what" and "McD and Mirotic should never be on the floor together". Those might be good things to either avoid or shoot for, but games, performance, game situations, match ups, and a whole lot of other things make hard rules like that implausible if not impossible to follow. Picking apart lineups and in game substitution tendencies is difficult without knowing a lot more than you or I are in a position to know. I try to stick with judging a coach on the performance of the lineups he is putting on the floor, if they are performing well, especially through injuries, then I approve barring an instance of vast underachievement proportional to talent. Its kind of hard to say that the 100% hypothetical lineup you or I have imagined should be used instead of the one that has actually put up numbers and won games in real life. It's fine to rip Thibs for things he does that annoy you, like playing Kirk too much, or keeping Keith Bogans as that fake starting SG for so long, but to say he's awful in his lineups and substitutions as a whole? That he's utterly terrible? The guy has pieced together some of the best benches in recent NBA history. He's won a ton of games, and coaches are largely worth their money in their lineup and in game decision making; obviously he's doing something right. He's nicely developed young, later round draft picks into NBA above average starters in Taj and Jimmy; even if he didn't play Jimmy his rookie year. Who knows what he'll do with players picked MUCH higher in McD(literally) and Mirotic(essentially). He's gotten jaw dropping production out of a bargain middling free agent PG, not once or twice, nope Aaron Brooks makes FIVE for Christ's sake. Maybe it's because of the Bears, but as I read you guys and your thoughts on Thibs I thought "man these guys are just a wee bit spoiled".

  • In reply to Chicagosportsguru:

    I read you, I totally understand that as an occasional TV viewer, I couldn't possibly know what Thibs knows. However, the group that Thibs put out there in the second quarter nearly cost them the game. It got outscored by 10 points, turned the ball over 7 times and went over 4 minutes without a field goal, those facts are evidence that Thibs didn't do a very good job in this case, so sure I'm going to criticize him as the head coach for his rotations. I think Thibs does a very good job overall, but I don't think he's doing a good job with his rotations this year, and overall I do think this is an area in which he needs to improve to give the team its best shot at a championship. There is past evidence of Thibs not optimizing his team's talent with his rotations, such as his not using Korver as effectively as other teams have, and his weird rotations of Keith Bogans and Carlos Boozer. That stuff can cost playoff games. As far as this year goes, I don't think he's utilizing McDoug nor Niko very well, and this is part of why those two are struggling. Bulls need to optimize the talent of those two to win a championship this year, so it matters. I know it's not as simple as I'm making it sound but it looks to me like certain guys are playing out of position and such and it's fun to come up with my own rotations. If you're going to put McDoug and Niko together, at least have Noah as a defensive anchor, for example.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I second this motion.

    Its not that we hate Thibs, most of us like him a lot, its just certain stubborn aspects of him that seem so obvious to the casual TV observer and that these patterns seem to repeat themselves year after year.

    Look I pretty much believe that you are who you are by the time that you reach your 20's, Thibs is going to be Thibs, and fans are going to be fans, i.e. bitching about the coach when things aren't working.

  • Derrick's comments may become irrelevant if he can't stay healthy. Driving down the lane he just seems to trip up, fall, down, collapse etc. He's almost starting to remind me of Robert Griffin/RGIII. That may sound like a zing/cheap shot, but it's not meant to be. Just being honest. Performance wise of course Rose has played at a high level for sustained periods unlike RGIII.

    Hopefully Derrick can stay healthy because honestly he's been looking great recently. He also needs to realize that if he just plays well and competes hard the way he always has, that he's doing his job and he can be happy with himself no matter the upset he causes with his verbal miscues. I really hate hearing from Joakim and seeing from Derrick's expression that he's down. We need him to be UP(beat) for his own sake and ours wanting him to be right when he's on the court and at his best.

    Other then Derrick's "As the World Turns" drama, how about MCFresh(McDermott) who had one good game against the Knicks and has since vanished from existence. Doug's floundering in that basketball purgatory sadistic coaches put players they don't have faith in where now basically he's put into the fire for five panicky minutes of air time that will do nothing but see his continuity and rhythm thwarted and his confidence suffer greatly. Thibs you magniificent bastard! Actually, your just a bastard(kidding, sort of). Nik looks active to as if he could contribute, but gets the same five minutes in the coliseum thrown to the lions treatment from Thibsy. Aaron Brooks watch out you could be next on the one mistake and your erased from the game plan reality show, Thib's Axe.

    Side note: How about James Johnson bringing the thunder(ha, ha). Truth is he's a very player limited thus his career of short minutes per game continues. Digging the prison neck tat though where'd he get that from the Birdman's personal Carny artist? Probably shouldn't rip on him in reality he looks like a nice guy who just has issues

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    last paragraph that should be limited player - typo is probably karma for my cheap shot. Sorry James.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Must disagree with comment that JJ is a limited player. I have followed his career closely since he has left the Bulls and he has really blossomed into a dynamic player. His major limitation is that he has a subpar jumpshot. However, he has above average handles for his position, is a good passer and rebounder and, IMO, an elite defender. Last night I think he had four blocks and four steals in something like 24 minutes. He's a tough guy too and can match up with the physical SFs like Lebron and Melo.

    I really thought the Bulls gave up on him too soon. Sure, he made some bonehead plays but what young player doesn't? I think the major rap against him was his personality. Gar is always saying that he is trying to build the proper "culture." Johnson was sort of a free spirit but not a bad guy IMO. If I recall correctly, he did get arrested for allegedly hitting his wife but that charge was dropped and this happened after the Bulls let him go.

    I think Johnson has a good shot as Sixth Man of the Year. I know I am in the minority here but I just love his game. This is something I have stated a few times before on Doug's board.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Johnson is one of those tease type guys who always have you on the edge of believing in them but never figures it out and actually becomes that guy. Its likely that he never becomes more than a wild card who gets the fans all excited but can't really be counted on as part of a winning team.

    He should have been in the perfect situation with Memphis last season, and yet they chose not to bring him back. Something just isn't right in his mental approach to the game as well as his personality that keeps turning teams off.

    What is he really, a less stupid version of Tyrus Thomas with a nicer demeanor.

    Speaking of 6th man of the year, Would you rather have him, or Taj even though Taj has semi retired on one end of the court.

    Also, didn't we get a draft pick for JJ that led to the acquisition of Mirotic?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Disagree with Tyrus comparison. You can see how Johnson has worked on his game to become a valuable contributor. Tyrus never improved. Aside from being a moron who didn't have the intelligence to understand basic offensive schemes, he was a malcontent who had run-ins with more than one coach.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Rose's foot slipped on that play, there's no player who drives as often an hard to the basket as he does so it's kind of expected.

    I think the rookies' only hope for minutes is that Thibs is letting the offense/defense get settled at the start before throwing them in the rotation. Otherwise I can see the same pattern as we've seen so far, the odd 20 min game but average of 12 for the season.

  • There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle.

    Lots of decent players,
    rookies + Snell.,+Pao+Brooks being new. Add in the injuries. Rose, Noah, Gibson,Butler. All this and it's only 9 games in.

    I will NOT criticize Thibs, certainly not yet. Pops is great, flawless, the standard to which all coaches are measured, but his first 9 games are certainly different than ours. Been wondering how he would handle our group and situations differently?

    I would make a couple of suggestions.

    1--Talk with Dunleavy, then play McD with the starters for 6-9 minutes for a 12-15 game stretch. Unless numerous injuries happen.., give it a shot, then reevaluate.

    2--Thibs, accept the fact that short term, my #1 above may cost us a game or two, but long term may prove to be a great move.

    3--Plan to do something similar with Niko and the other Bigs. Noah is on a minutes limit, so the minutes are there.
    Again, may cost us a game or two. Maybe you wait 10 games or so, but it IS in your Master Plan.

    I happen to think Rose's in and then out games are a Good Idea, erring on the out-side. Thibs keeps saying its Thibs decision and Rose keeps saying "I trust my coach". That puts the honus on Thibs and off Rose a bit. It'll take a while, but the media will live with it and the PR hit will be a little less.


  • In reply to rakmessiah:

    would that be Honus Wagner the prehistoric baseball HOFer and the million dollar playing card? Or maybe its Doug (Th)onus the basketball blogger. Just having some fun, so don't freak out.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Help me BIGWAY.., what was the word I was lookin' for. I was too lazy to verify the spelling. Not freakin'. Always like to banter with you,, and respect your opinions.

  • Butler and Dunleavy are Bulls starting wings (SG, SF).
    So who is now Bulls 3rd wing? Apparently its Kirk Hinrich, as Snell and McDermott are getting zero to little playing time.

    I don't see this wing rotation being successful in the playoffs.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Unfortunately for all of us, Doug's worst fears are coming to fruition.

  • Even setting aside the Rose situation last nights game was another miserable win. Aside from Gasol's best night as a Bull and another nice quiet 21/9/6 by Jimmy Butler that was way painful to watch. Is that 21/9/6 enough to forgive Butler for the boneheaded foul with .4 seconds left in the first quarter and the guy hopelessly trapped in midair beyond the 3 point line.

    the misery started with the hideous second quarter performance of the bench slobs, they are costing us 10 plus points a game in the 4-6 minutes that they play in the first half. Mirotic isn't doing anything or even trying. McPillsbury(as in turnover and doughboy) may have played the worst stretch of basketball in NBA history last night. 4 turnovers, 2 missed free throws, an airballed 3, and getting abused by everybody and anybody the Raptors threw at him on defense. Is it clear to everybody yet that he isn't a small forward, and may not be athletic enough to be an anything if we can't find somebody that he can guard. We all thought that at least his shooting would transfer to the NBA game, apparently that only works in the summer league, maybe he should give the D league a shot.

    Then the first string led by Rose(at least nearly 4 consecutive turnovers) tried to imitate McPillsbury and the bench slobs by blowing an 18 point lead in the 4rth, essentially wasting Gasol's best offensive performance as a Bull.

    Maybe it is the increased expectations, but other than opening night I haven't had much fun watching the team this year. We should be a lot happier with a 7-2 start.

    I suppose we could look on the bright side, if we were Sacto fans, we'd be suffering thru losing a 25 point lead in back to back games. The second one on a blown coverage leading to a layin at the rim with only .3 left in the game. #34 on Sacto should be excommunicated from the league for life.

    Oh well, back to worrying about Rose. He looked so good physically in the preseason, that I really thought we could relax about that aspect of his game. I guess it will never go away, it looks like he is just going to be one of those guys whose body can't take the natural pounding of the game.

  • I think Dunleavy is playing really good ball right now, and there is absolutely no way that Thibs is going to start McD over him at this point.

    I agree with the posters above, that the only way to find out if Doug can play at this level is to actually find him some more minutes and maybe with some better/different combinations of players on the floor. But come on, it's Thibs and I think we can all agree he's nothing if not stubborn. Dun had that sweet alley-oop to Jimmy off an in-bounds too which was nice, by the way.

    They've built a team that can win during the season without Derrick, but we all know they need him for a legit shot at a title. That's why I couldn't care less if he misses half the games this year, all I care about is him being ready to roll for the playoffs where he can now be the x-factor if even close to healthy.

    Lastly, Jimmy Boy's line is now around 20/6/4 while shooting 53% on the year and playing terrific D. He looks like a max guy based on what's out there, and that is a really, really good thing for the Bulls. I couldn't give a crap if Reinsdorf has to pony up a little pocket change for the luxury tax, he's got enough cash already.

  • Another little note to temper our enthusiasm over our 7-2 record.

    We hung on to beat Philly by the skin of our teeth while allowing them to score 115 points.

    Last night Dallas beat them by 123-70. Dallas could literally have gone scoreless in the entire second half and still won the game as the score at halftime was 73-29, and that was even with MCW who didn't play against us.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Well, you can't read too much stuff into those games. I recall during the Bulls 2nd 3-peat that they were on the road against a ream with multiple injuries. The home team was not too good anyway, but they only suited 7 players! I figured the game was a sure thing, but they beat the Bulls with room to spare. Go figure!

  • Doug, I'm surprised that you didn't mention the Raps defensive tactics against Rose. For the most part they switched(hid) Lowry onto Dunleavy, while a taller player, usually Ross guarded Rose. During the 4rth quarter rally by the Raps they even used the Miami Heat tactics as they attacked Rose in aggressive traps using an even bigger player James Johnson. As in the past these tactics were quite successful, as Rose turned into a turnover machine(i.e a Doug McDermott).

    I suppose that Rose can be excused somewhat for his failure to handle this pressure, as he hasn't faced it for nearly 3 years. However, Thibs and the Bulls are going to have to address this tactic in a bigway, because more and more teams are going to use it against us in crunch time and especially in the playoffs unless we can prove that we know how to defeat it.

    Like everything else, I guess this was overshadowed by Rose's injury.

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