Pau Gasol and Derrick Rose questionable for Bulls at Kings

Pau Gasol and Derrick Rose questionable for Bulls at Kings

Derrick Rose practiced on Wednesday while Pau Gasol did not. Both are listed as questionable for tonight's game against the Kings.

Rudy Gay is also listed as questionable, but he played through his injury on Tuesday, so I'd suspect he'll play. In the past, I'd say that might not be such good news for Kings fans anyway, but Gay has been pretty fantastic this season so far.

Either way, he's the type of player the Bulls typically do a very good job controlling, so I'm not too worried about Rudy Gay.

DeMarcus Cousins is an entirely different matter. He's the type of player the Bulls typically struggle with, and the Kings have routed the Bulls the past couple times they've played in Sacramento despite being a pretty lousy team overall.

It'd be easy to say the Bulls were a different team then, but they actually weren't all that different if Pau Gasol and Derrick Rose sit out tonight.

Will DeMarcus Cousins decide this game?

Could be underthinking it, but it just feels like if the Bulls control DeMarcus Cousins that they'll get the win and if they don't then they won't. Sure, it's possible Cousins could go off and the Bulls win anyway, or that he struggles and they lose, but I'm betting the game goes as DeMarcus goes.

Cousins represents much of what has historically hurt the Bulls. Chicago hasn't had much of an answer for bruising offensive centers, and this season they've been killed on the glass. If Cousins plays well he can make Chicago pay in both areas.

Their next high scorers are Rudy Gay and Darren Collison. These both strike me as players the Bulls can manage with their wing defenders and force into tough shots.

The Kings overall have relied on getting to the free throw line to get a lot of their points, and while I think Cousins can continue that trend against the Bulls I like Chicago's odds of keeping Collison and Gay (if he plays) off the free throw line and forcing them into tough shots.

Who stops Jimmy Butler?

It's pretty awesome to write the above headline, but seriously, teams need to figure out how to stop Jimmy Butler now. The thing about stopping Butler is that it isn't like stopping Rudy Gay or Carmelo Anthony.

It's a constant energy, work, athleticism, and strength. Butler isn't going to kill you one on one, but he is going to kill you on the offensive glass. He is going to kill you when he gets a half step if you're out of position. He's going to kill you at the hoop with his aggressiveness.

He's a challenge in that you can't stop Butler in the way you'd stop another star player, in many ways he's easier to contend with because he doesn't have amazing isolation skills, however in other ways he becomes a greater challenge because he's not a guy who can be easily outworked.

Let's error on the side of caution

If Rose/Gasol are ready then they should play (of course), but if there's any doubt then today is a good rest day. The Bulls have a lotto protected Kings pick this season, so if you're going to drop a game, this is the best possible game to drop of the year.

I'd hate to see Chicago rush back Rose/Gasol for a game that has a very real silver lining with a loss anyway.

Personal note

My 12 year old daughter Chloe underwent successful spinal surgery. She was amazingly brave throughout the entire process, never flinching at the blood draws or needles. She was nervous and scared (as we all would be) but never begged not to do it or asked "why me?" or showed any type of self pity. She just faced her fears and went through it without a complaint.

Recovery will be a long process. She'll be in the hospital for a week and out of school for six, but from today forward, every day is a step towards better health, and the scariest part is over.

They had to fuse one less vertebrae than originally expected, so she'll have a bit more flexibility than they thought she would which is also good news.

Thank you everyone for your thoughts, prayers, karma, support, or whatever you send our way based on whatever you believe.

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  • Hopefully, Thibs can let the younger players get some minutes and start doing a better job of developing them. Doug, I enjoy reading your columns and hope your daughter has a speedy recovery.

  • In reply to juice44:

    I agree with both comments, but I especially wish your daughter the best. Her situation makes basketball seem trivial.

    There are some amazing surgeons and surgical techniques in our time, for which we are grateful. I like even better God's promise at Revelation 21:4, "[God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore." We can live forever in a paradise. That beats any health care program the politicians offer!

    I had surgery twice as a kid, at 6 and 12, and both were tough - but not so tough as Chloe's surgery. If you go to and email me her address I will send her a YA (young adult) novel about a girl named Zenobia. A true story, this girl had to masquerade as a boy to save her life. Chloe may enjoy it during her recovery.

    We all wish Chloe and your family the best.

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    Doug, I wish your daughter a speedy recovery!
    After watching Bulls - Clippers game it is hard not to pick as a the biggest disappointment so far.. they have top 3 guard, top 3 power forward, top 5 center and the six man of the year and they really struggle.. i had them on the top of Western Conference before the season and I am ashamed of my predictions which btw looked like that:
    1. Cleveland - too much talent – they need time to be really good but East is so weak that they will destroy many teams even playing under their potential. Blatt is a great coach - people forget that.
    2. Chicago – they are always good in regular season. Best frontcourt in NBA – Gasol – Noah – Gibson – Mirotic. Good 3 point shooters which they lacked season. Good season for Buttler- he plays for a new contract. He will be in all defense team at the end. Rose - I expect poor stats ( specially shooting%) but If he remains healthy – he will be good in play off. Noah has health issues - I expect big drop in his stats and in playing time.
    3. Washington – they will miss Ariza as Pierce is a disaster but Beal and Wall are probably top 3 backcourt in the league. They have good bigs and they rebound well. Gortat and Nene are strong and crafty.I do not like the coach but they will be good.
    4. Miami – better than people expect - they have deep team – all depend on Wade though. Bosh has to prove that he can be a leader – I do expect that to happen.
    5. Toronto – I think they really overachieved last year and they did not get better this season. But they gained some experience and they are always ready to trade so if they do not play well – I expect some trade.
    6. Charlotte Hornets - are back! They are gonna be very dangerous. I think they can surprise many teams. But they can also loose to average teams. For sure in play off – maybe even top 4.
    7. Atlanta - the talent is there but internal issues can destroy them. They have players for play offs but they might just fall apart. Play off team on the paper.
    8. Brooklyn – only if we assume that they are all healthy – then they are good - Lopes, Johnson and Williams -they can be dangerous but if only one is out – they are out of play offs. I like the coach - big upgrade over Kidd. Garnett is done.
    If Brooklyn and Atlanta slide down – which is very possible - there are 3 teams to take their places – random order:
    - Detroit - I do not put them in top 8 because they really disappointed me last season. they have such good power on the wings – Monroe, Smith , Drurmmond. DJ Augustin is a very good addition. And finally good coach - van gandy is great but he will get bold with Smith and Jennings. On the paper they are better than Brooklyn but too many nutcases.
    - Indiana – Voghel is a great coach – the defense can get them to play off. But they will struggle with offence - they will score 80points per game . but can hold the other to 70. They will be hard to play as they are grinders
    - NY - I expect Carmelo to have a great season and score like crazy. Maybe around 30 points per game. Hard to go against Jackson power forwards no centers, no rebounds.. For me they are not a play off team but I would never count out the team with Phil Jackson .

    1. Clippers – very balanced team, good players on every position. Good rebounding, good defense, crazy offence, good coach – for regular season should be enough for top 3.
    2. Thunders – Durant gonna be just better. Same with Westbrook. But they are lacking 3 point shooters and rebounding. Poor coaching.
    3. Spurs - how can you count them out? Always good. But they will rest players like crazy so not as many wins as last seasons.. but with Popovic and his bench - you never know. Great season for Leonard and Green. Duncan and Manu will be waiting for play off.
    4. Golden State – all depends on Curry’s ankle..and Bogut health. Hard to see them healthy for the whole season. I am not sure about Kerr as a coach. Might be the most overpaid coach in the history. Klay will be good. They lack of size though..
    5. Houston – they will be worse than last season but Howard took Orlando to play offs with less talent around. Ariza is a great addition – he is undervalued. But it is still Harden’s team and it all depends on him. Good defensive with Howard, Ariza and Beverley on the roster.
    6. Memphis - they struggle last year because they had many injuries. But Gasol – Randolph – Conley are good enough to get them to play off. Carter is a great addition. No one likes playing them.
    7. Dallas- they experience should take them to play offs. They were the only team which really compete against Spurs and took them to game 7. They are old ( Chandler, Dirk, Nelson ) but they have some youngs as well. Good coaching. The only problem might be too many games against very good teams so it will be hard to collect Ws ( they are in division with New Orleans, Houston , San Antonio and Memphis). – in the East they would be top 4.
    8. Pelicans – probably my biggest mistake but I really like them. The problem is health - but if they keep Gordon and Evans healthy - they can beat anyone. Asik was a steal from Houston.

    So these were my predictions before the seasons. I already see i was wrong in many cases , but hey, the season is far from over.

    Go bulls tonight! (I expect a loss though if Rose and Gasol are out)

  • In reply to Marcin Derkacz:

    I'm not sure if the Thunder can realistically make the playoffs if they continue the way they are even going for even one more week. The hole they have dug is bigger than you think, even when Westbrook/Durant return. That being said, IF they make the playoffs, a 7 seed is basically the best case scenario for them.

  • Glad to hear about your daughter, Doug. I'm pleased to hear the surgery went well and I hope the recovery goes flawlessly. As far as the vertebrae, I have two fused vertebrae in my back and it has never hindered me throughout my athletic career or on a day to day basis, so I assume she will be fine as well. The only way I even notice is that I have never, and will never, be able to touch my toes.

    As far as tonight goes, I'm mostly coming down with you on the analysis. I've watched 3-4 kings games this year, and Demarcus has been especially good down low this year. He's cut down quite a bit on the outside looks and is operating almost exclusively on the low post now, which is bad news for teams that used to get bailed out by his excessive midrange shooting.

    Noah has traditionally had trouble with guys like Dwight and Demarcus, so if Pau can go tonight, it might pay dividends, as I believe he's better at guarding the stronger, more physical bigs. Sacramento is pretty slow with their perimeter rotations, so if the Bulls can get themselves some looks outside it could pay huge dividends, a la MDJ.

    I'm hoping Taj can continue his good play, as I believe our play at PF can exploit their weaknesses, especially if we can pull Cousins out of the paint. Demarcus has been an improved rim protector as of late, so i'm hoping the Bulls attempt to move him around quite a bit.

    Butler could have a field day with McLemore, I don't think Ben can cover him in any way, shape or form. I almost wish we had move versatility between our SG/SF spots so Butler could guard Rudy, but I'm not sure I like the Rose/Hinrich pairing, and Brooks is too small to realistically guard a big 2 like McLemore.

    All in all, if Rose shows up to play, I don't envision this being a game that breaks our current road streak. Hopefully he suits up.

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    Godspeed on a quick recovery for Chloe. As a father I know this can be a trying time for you as much as it is for her.

    The Bulls haven't had much success against their next two opponents during the Circus trip. Sac and Portland have enough offensive talent to blow the Bulls out of the gym if the Bulls shooting woes surface. Dunleavy, Brooks, Hinrich and hopefully McDermott must shoot well, if so the Bulls should be able to come out with two wins.

    Staying out of foul trouble will be key for Noah and Gibson against DeMarcus Cousins. He's a handful, and he seems to play well against the Bulls frontcourt.

  • Glad to hear your daughter came through surgery well. Good luck on the rehab.

  • Doug, that's great news about your daughter! I'm a new parent, so I can only imagine the worry and hope you went through. Prayers for a speedy recovery.

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    Actually there is a simple recipe for the Kings - put Cousins in foul trouble - easier said than done but if Gasol is in the game we should be fine. Maybe even posting Nicola is a good idea. 3 point shooting and rebounding will be the key anyway - keep them off the glass and make them shoot long twos.

  • Doug,

    Glad to hear that your daughter is doing better.

    It's a reminder of how trivial everything else (yes even the Bulls!) is in comparison.

  • Great to hear that the worst is over for your daughter Doug. I really appreciate you keeping up with the great content given what you're going through.

  • Doug, all the best to your daughter. You and your wife must have gone through a lot as parents, and I'm glad to hear that it's now past you. Go Bulls!

  • Doug, I'm glad your daughter Chloe's 's surgery went so well. Here's praying for a swift and happy as possible recovery. It's nice to see all the well wishes for your daughter and your family from so many long time posters/readers here on Bulls Confidential.

    Briefly on tonight's game: Sacramento's huge positive differential on rebounds vs opponents concerns me. Also they have beaten teams like Portland, Denver(who despite some losses does have talent and took out the Cavs at their place) twice, and San Antonio. Frankly, without Derrick and Pau I don't see the Bulls winning this game, particularly not seeing Kirk and Dunleavy pulling off two excellent performances in a row which is pivotal considering their minutes played. Hopefully I'm wrong.

    It sure would be nice to see Nik and McD get some playing time with the starters. Especially since Pau is likely not playing and Jimmy has been piling up so many minutes(shocker)! Maybe Thibs has an epiphany and McD gets some serious minutes and has a nice game. Yeah and maybe I'll win the lottery. Also, With Kirk due for an off night upping Aaron Brooks minutes would be in order..?

  • That's great news about your daughter, Doug...thanks for sharing. Chloe sounds like a strong young lady; you must be extremely proud of her.

    Bull's seem to find extra motivation playing on the road for whatever reason, so hopefully that trend continues tonight. And despite Cousin's apparent improved play this season, I truly believe he is a knucklehead at heart; so hopefully the Bull's defense can frustrate him a bit, and bring out his inner knucklehead in all it's absurd glory.

    It'd also be nice to have a Derrick Rose sighting tonight, but I certainly won't get my hopes up for that.

  • Glad to hear your daughter's operation went well Doug!

    I love your column here and your analysis!

    I was a Kings fan when I lived in Sacramento and Santa Rosa, CA and they were a very fun team to watch in the early 2000s with Webber, Peja, Christie, Bibby, Jay Williams, Divak etc...I wish them well out West which is so competitive and hard to make the playoffs..they haven't made the playoffs since 2006 if I remember right!
    Cousins will keep Noah, Taj, if Gasol plays plenty busy and he is the biggest X factor in that game, besides of course if Rose and Gasol play this game for us!
    I especially like watching the Bulls vs Kings games and like to get to as many Bulls at Bucks games as I can. :-)
    Go BULLS...hope Niko continues on last game and that McD hits his shots and plays some minutes...I'm sure Jimmy will be plenty busy with Gay if he plays!

  • Doug, my thoughts are with you and your family. I always appreciate the effort you put into this blog and hope your daughter has a quick recovery.

    As far as the bulls, I think it depends on if Pau can go. He swings the game a lot imo. He's not as good a defender as Noah but can bang a bit more with the big guys. He would do a better job slowing Boogie down. If it's Noah on him all night, I think he gets torched.

    I'm pretty confident in the rest of the matchups. Maybe it can be a Lebron type situation where you let him get his but focus on shutting everyone else down? It'll be a good game.

  • Great news about you daughter. Best of luck to her. I don't know how you do it all.

  • What a brave young woman. All the best and I hope for a speedy recovery!

  • Trib reporting that both Rose and Gasol are out for tonights' game. Gasol supposedly has a calf strain, I just went through one of those. They are painful and take time to heal.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Yeah calf strains are awful, he'll have the benefit of the best physical therapy which makes a real difference, but I'd guess the length of his calves can't help.

  • As a "victim"(mine didn't turn out so well) of multiple back surgeries, including a double lumbar fusion, I wish your daughter the best in her recovery and for a full and healthy life.

    Not much to say about the Bulls today, I'll save my energy for post game comments.

  • I'd like to echo everyone's sentiments regarding Chloe. My thoughts and prayers are with her & your family. Hope she gets home soon and makes a quick full recovery!

  • Glad to hear your daughter, and you as a parent got through the worst of it. Best wishes going forward.

  • Just want to say that though I rarely ever comment, I've been reading your articles for over 4 years now (including back in the days of Mr. Happy..) I sincerely appreciate the consistency and quality that you put into this blog even when life is bigger than this. I believe this blog has the best discussion board of any Bulls site that I read, and hope it keeps going strong. I hope Chloe's recovery goes well and wish all the best.

  • In reply to waitwhat:

    I'll echo that this is really a great blog and we need it when the Trib's beat writer is essentially a PR rep. I've learned more about the team and about basketball in general from reading Doug's posts and the discussions that follow than I'd learn in five years reading KC.

  • Be well, Chloe.

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    Doug- hope your daughter recovers soon and well. She's a young brave girl. Best of luck to her.

  • Praying for your family, Doug. Thanks for continuing to write with all that going on.

  • Glad to hear Chloe's surgery went well, Doug. I'll say a prayer for her and your family tonight.

  • I like that Doug McDermott is mixing it up and is not just a wallflower:

  • O.K. I couldn't take it any longer, I have to weigh in at half time, when I guess most of you guys are asleep.

    doug, you were right about Cousins except we forgot that Gasol out, Cousins will likely foul out our entire front line. Seems like a good night to break out some Nazr, but Thibs went with Bairstow.

    at the close of the first quarter, with about 30 something seconds left Mirotic jack up what looked like a quick ill advised long 3. However, he is the only Bull in what seems like a couple of years that seems to understand the concept of getting a 2 for 1 at the end of quarters. It has been a big pet peeve of mine that no matter who the Bulls pg is, they never take advantage of this 2 for 1 situation. When they get a possession with less than 48 second left in a quarter, they invariably just lollygag the ball up the court almost purposely running the shot clock down to 24 seconds before taking a bad shot, giving the opposition the ball back with less than 24 seconds left in the quarter. This has been going on for what seems like the entire Thibs era. He missed the shot, but good thinking by Mirotic.

    I have to agree with the announcers that the Bulls are getting the short end of the officiating stick in the first half. The Kings are playing bumper cars/Bully ball and the Bulls are getting every ticky tacky foul called on them. I really didn't like the charging call on Butler against Cousins toward the end of the first, where Butler caught a pass over his shoulder turned around as he was landing and Cousins jumped into his landing space, never liked the way the league makes that call, you should be entitled to landing space.

    It is really embarassing that an NBA player(Noah) who is right handed is completely incapable of making a shot in paint with his right hand, like the one he missed at the halftime buzzer. I love the guy, but this seems like something that you could correct by working on it.

    The Bulls offense in the second looked more like the typical Hinrich led offense, craptastic leading to a ton of easy scores for the Kings in their transition offense. The Clipper game looking more like the mirage that it was, despite everybody going nuts and jumping on the Hangdog bandwagon for a day, just check out SSS(senile sam smith) today.

    Mirotic again couldn't keep his hand out of the cookie jar on defense, getting silly fouls. However, he has been a better rebounder than we expected, again tonight grabbing some nice boards in traffic. In fact, in that regard he's been better than just about any other Bull, maybe with the exception of Gasol, although he tends to lose a few of those in traffic boards.

    Well, thats all folks, until the morning.

  • In no way am I superstitious but Derrick has to sit out tonight. Exactly 1 year since his last knee injury, against the same team on the road, while again recovering from a hamstring injury. Hopefully he's good to go, would like to see this matchup against Lillard.

  • In reply to Jamie W:

    Reports are that he is out until at least next week. Of course that could be Monday or it could be the following weekend.

  • Bulls on a back to back facing a very good Blazers squad without Rose, Gasol, and Klank. Yikes.

    I'm assuming Noah and Taj get get run into the ground, but with the way Mirotic has contributed(despite ridiculous number of foul calls) maybe Thibs does give him some burn 23-25 minutes. Aaron Brooks should get plenty of action, but with reduced minutes overall it's tough throwing him into a heavily relied upon role against a good Western Conf. team like Portland. And Butler and Dunleavy you figure will see 37 minutes and up rather then McDermott seeing much action. Maybe just as well throwing MCD into the fire against one of the better record Western Conf. teams at their place.

  • Hope everything is going OK with Doug and his family.

    Jazz aren't very good including on the boards and defensively.

    Taj is likely out. Hopefully Mirotic can stay out of foul trouble and have a good game. Likewise McDermott this team needs an offensive boost. Jimmy's three point shooting down to 33% on declining volume. Hopefully he can have a potent scoring night regardless. Brooks needs to have a good all around game if Kirk is out. Derrick needs to "recover" from this hamstring the Bulls and their fans can't be left waiting forever.

  • Yes, I am at it again folks, I am making my predictions based on my formula.

    Pistons vs. Hornets:

    Its a going to be close one because the Hornets are up 2 1/2 games over the Pistons and they are playing at home. Not having Josh Smith a veteran in the league, and being a young team has made the Pistons struggle. The Pistons are better than the Hornets, due to Hornets injuries which been pervasive for this season. Pistons want to go into the All-star break with at least one game out for the eight seed in the eastern conference playoff run. (Pistons by 2).

    Kings vs. Bulls:

    Bulls beat the Kings, but they do not dominate the injury ridden Kings. Bulls by 5 in this contest. I think the Bulls are going into the All star weekend determined to make a positive note. The Kings, however, are not sure if Rudy Gay or Darren Collison will play.And If they do not play, expect a double digit win by the Bulls. I think Jimmy Bulter, Derrick Rose, and Gasol will have a productive night at the United Center. And the Kings are really not playing for anything. The Bulls need this win to stay close to 2nd (Raptors) and 3rd (Wizards) seeds in the East. I am calling this a playoff game type of attitude displayed from the Bulls.

    Final Prediction: Rockets(35-6) at Suns(29-24)

    Rockets have lost their big man in Dwight Howard. Suns are without their guard Bledsoe. Dragic is shooting 41% as of late from the field goal range. This game is going down to the wire, and I have the Rockets prevailing in this game. Suns are not are a high scoring team without Bledsoe (averaging a little over 100 pts per outing. The Rockets are averaging without Howard at 112 pts per game. Adding their turnovers, which the rockets averaging 18, and the Suns 13. Its going to be ruff night for both teams.

    Rockets 93, Suns 90.

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