Derrick Rose plays as expected, poorly, as the Bulls fall to Magic

Derrick Rose plays as expected, poorly, as the Bulls fall to Magic

Derrick Rose whipped out FIBA Derrick Rose for 20 minutes. His return was perhaps punctuated by his second to last play when he went coast to coast in transition, weaved in and out of three players, and scored on a high speed layup.

Other than that single play, we more or less saw the stand around and shoot three pointers version of Rose that doesn't do much useful for Chicago. He didn't create much in the way of opportunities for anyone, nor did he do much to score himself.

I didn't expect anything else. I doubt you did either. Since Derrick has returned from the ACL injury, we've not seen a whole lot of good Derrick Rose, and we've seen him consistently try to ease himself back into the game when returning from injury rather than trying to assert himself.

Given his history it's hard to blame him for playing overly cautiously.

He was just one for seven from beyond the arc and is shooting at a shade over 28% on the season. At some point, the Bulls need to sit him down and say, "no more threes" or cap his attempts to three a game.

The problem with that, of course, is that the Bulls offense is designed in such a way to generate that open three point shot as one of its options. When Rose plays passively in the offense then he tends to end up in the shooter role rather than the creator role, so he either takes the shot the offense generates or he doesn't.

This is one of the reasons passive Derrick Rose hurts the Bulls. The offense is designed in such a way that Rose needs to be the primary creator or will end up in a position that doesn't suit his strengths.

I believe the Bulls are running a variant of a motion offense where the guards are somewhat interchangeable. The PG starts out as the primary creator and more or less has option, then everyone moves based on the option he chooses. He can attack, feed the post, or swing the ball.

Derrick is in swing the ball mode right now, where he reverses the flow of the offense then takes a cut to the basket and runs down to the opposite corner, then will typically rotate out to the wing as the play develops. This leaves Derrick with plenty of open threes.

If he feeds the post, opponents will be smart enough to simply double down on the post and close back out on Rose slowly daring him to shoot and defending the drive. Rose is taking the right shots when he launches his threes, at least in terms of the offensive design, but his lack of aggression up front is what is forcing him into so many.

As for the rest of the game, Chicago lost to a Magic team that has now won three in a row, but prior to that lost 11 of their previous 12. In short, they aren't a good team. They are a team the Bulls should easily beat with or without Rose.

The overall hand wringing can now continue as to whether the Bulls simply aren't that good or whether they take these poor teams too lightly. I tend to think it is simply the first at this point.

Chicago had a huge lead early, but took their foot off the gas and Orlando fought back to bring the game close at half time. They then slowly chipped away at the Bulls lead until it was a back and forth game and won in the final minutes with better execution as the Bulls simply couldn't stop Victor Oladipo.

The Bulls opted to play Derrick Rose his 20 minutes in three stints in the early quarters and rest him in the fourth. Given the way he played, that decision was probably just fine as Rose certainly didn't look like he was going to do anything significant to initiate offense down the stretch anyway.

It was a warm up for Derrick, and the good news for Chicago is that he is back on the court at all. There's relatively little time left in the season for him to get to where the Bulls need him to be. Earlier word was that Rose would likely not play the second half of the back to back tonight, so we'll see if that's the case.

Personally, I hope they rethink that decision. Rose only played twenty minutes last night. He played them at a low intensity, rarely pushing himself or trying to do much.

My guess is that his action last night was considerably less than what he's been doing in practice. It would benefit Chicago to get him out there against NBA players as many times as possible before the Bulls run into Cleveland or Atlanta in the playoffs, assuming they can even make it out of round one which is no formality with their current level of play.

The Bulls are a talented team searching for answers. They haven't found any recently and are running out of time quickly. Integrating Derrick and getting him comfortable attacking defenses has to be one of the biggest concerns. Hopefully, Rose goes again tonight to help build as much continuity as possible.

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  • I kind of expected this performance from DRose, shaking off the rust. The Bulls lost this game because Coach Stubborn-Ass refusal to make in game adjustments. How about playing Snell with Butler so you can have more length and athleticism on the floor, and enough with putting Noah in a pick-and-roll set. How many turnovers with the ball hitting Noah's face, chest or hands do we need to see, and when he does finally catch one not finish around the basket.

  • In reply to juice44:

    I think the word "rust" has now become synonymous with Derrick Rose. Someone should put all the articles written about Rose over the past three years into a database to find out how many times the word "rust" pops-up.

  • my only hope for the playoffs is that kyrie irving seems to bring the best out of derrick for some reason. he does not like seeing kyrie taking over the top PG in the east mantle, and that might get derrick to kick it up a notch in the playoffs. that is, if the bulls make it that far. i do not want any part of the wizards in round one

  • Question(s): at what point do you start blaming a head coach for his player's ridiculously poor habits on the basketball court? Is it OK to "let players play" directionless it seems as they irresponsibly settle for shots they have no hope of making with even sub-par efficiency? Does Derrick's former MVP status make him a "hands off" franchise exception? Or say you are addressing his repetitively flawed actions, and the player(s) simply won't listen to you and continues the egregious anti-winning ways. What does this say about the head coach?

    Certainly D-Rose was a stud player who played the game with a fierce competitiveness we can all admire. However post injury(ies) Derrick Rose is a different guy and honestly I don't like him. Post injury Rose is a clown basically who exhibits sloppy ass play and silly shot selection. Rust has nothing to do with the futility of hoisting shots you stink at and playing without discipline turning the ball over with frankly one of the lousiest assist to turnover rates you're ever going to see out of a starting NBA point guard. I think it reflects negatively on the coach as well when you can't get a player to stop unproductive frankly selfish habits.

    And by the way whether you like Tony Snell or not you really aren't doing his confidence and morale any favors by discarding him for scrub duty game after game. Without his contributions your team would have several more losses and come playoffs he at least efficiency wise gives you a chance unlike Klank who played 15 minutes while Snell a viable player got thrown out on the court with 26 seconds left. Again, Thibs just because your replacement will likely suck way beyond your suckiness does that really make your ineptitude plausible? Hardly.

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    Thibs use of Mirotic since Taj came back has absolutely stalled his development imo. He has single handedly killed his groove with inconsistent and low minutes, refusing to play him at his natural position, getting pissed when he gets burned on defense by SFs he has no business guarding in the first place.

    Thibs is literally putting Mirotic in positions to fail and then blame Niko for it when really Tom is the reason for the falloff this month.

    Just my opinion. Somebody please explain to me the logic behind playing Taj being a priority over Niko's development.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    This is why Taj needs to be traded. Taj was the perfect complement to Boozer but doesn't fit behind Niko, much less in front of him. Taj doesn't play SF and doesn't play C, for $8MM he fills a role that we need someone to fill for 10-12 minutes per night.

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    It was good to see Rose back on the court. So glad he didn't bow out of the playoffs again, by telling the media that he's healed, but he's not coming back until he's 100%.

    Enough about Rose...
    I've just about had it watching Joakim Noah play like dog poop. If it wasn't for Rose's annual injury, Thibs job on the line, Jimmy's big season, Niko's ROY campaign or Pau playing the best ball of his career Bulls news would be all about how Joakim Noah sucks.
    Dude can't play defense anymore, and he puts way too much pressure on his teammates to be better offensive players. Plz no comments on his assist. Who cares? That's why they have backcourt players. If Noah doesn't step his game up the Bulls are going to have trouble getting out of the 1st rd especially if they finish as the 4th seed. If that should happen, the Bulls would be wise to trade Noah the next day.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    Agreed. Noah just looked bad last night. In fact, Hinrich may have outplayed him this game.

  • At this point in the season, ending and going into the playoff, the bulls season can be summed up in one word: Continuity. (resulting in severe consistency)

    Over the course of the season, this bulls team, with injuries, minutes restrictions, new players, Thibs/front office drama, has shown that it can go on the road and beat the best only to turn around at home to lose to the worst.

    While regular season is quite different than playoffs, what can be reasonably predicted? the bulls team will win some tough road games and lose some not so tough home games.

    Whatever magical switch the bulls thinks it has, should now stay at the ON position permanently.

    It will be interesting to see if for the playoffs, the minutes restriction will be lifted, especially for Noah, and whether Noah can start resembling the DPOY and the anchor to the Bulls defense. Overall, at the start of the season i thought Rose would have an up and down season but I did not expect our defense, especially Noah to have such a downfall. This bulls team has not shown that it can stop anyone. The lack of continuity and the decline in our defense (and rebounding) does not lend itself to post season success. IMHO, on most nights, Noah, Jimmy have simply mailed it in. Bulls team of previous 3 years were a creature of habbit (defensive oriented team first) but this years Bulls team simply going into the playoff expecting to turn into some defensive juggernaut is very unlikely. At this point, it is safe to say that we really don't an identity and we are who are, a team that is vastly inconsistent.

    Not sure where this "magical" switch is and why it continues to remain at the OFF position...

  • I wouldn't say the Bulls took their foot off the gas last night as much as they ran out of gas. This team just does not have the legs to hang with teams, especially young and athletic ones, for 48 minutes. As a result they have struggled to play consistently from night to night.

    It would be great to think about seeding or our potential 2nd round matchup against the Cavs, but the reality is the Bulls most likely will not make it out of the first round. Unless their opponent implodes, I can't see the Bulls being able to flip a switch and suddenly begin to play consistently over a 5-7 game stretch.

  • The Bulls defense was a joke on this game. They were out-rebounded, out-hustled and enable easy penetration by the guards. I am not too concerned with Rose as he was expected to play the passive way to test drive his repair knee. My main concern is with Noah and Taj. They have been playing very poorly lately and the defense has not been there, not to mention their offense has disappeared. The Bulls have 4 games left, and I think they will have another loss tonight against a desperate team of Miami. This will likely set them to a likely 4/5 seed. The silver line is if the Wizards move up to the 3rd and the Raptors to the 4th seed. It will be the reset button/ luckiest season for the Bulls ever!!!

  • You can't feel very good about the Bull's chances in the post-season. Chicago should have crushed the magic last night, but it was the same old story about lackluster, low energy play. The offense seemed out of sync the entire game, and the defense and rebounding was pathetic. The status of Rose is irrelevant if the rest of team continues to struggle like this.

    The assumption has been that the Bulls easily advance against Milwaukee in the first round, but I don't see their chances any better than 50/50 at this point (assuming they even play Milwaukee). The regular season is pretty much over, and what has this team shown us that would indicate they will be steam-rolling over any playoff-caliber team in two weeks? There's no way a team fighting to keep the 3rd playoff seed should be losing the final games of the season to crap teams. Doesn't make me feel real warm and fuzzy about the likelihood of a long playoff run.

  • If I counted right, last night makes 16 loses this season to teams that will finish under .500!!!! 16!!!!! Flat out embarrassing!!

    I still think they will beat the Bucks in a seven game series but have no faith against the Wizards. I don't even care who they would play in round two. That last play was a joke last night. Gasol was well guarded, but if the ball was thrown rim level it might have had a shot. Instead it was thrown at chest/head level and was knocked away. Did Mike think no one was going to guard Pau?

    Anything can happen in the playoffs, but it feels now more than ever that this was a wasted season and that there will be a big overhaul in the offseason. With these results, who can argue?

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    Or Gasol could have tried to get inside position on the midget guarding him which could have led to a dunk at the rim(assuming a proper pass, no guarantee with this team of mistake players), but that would have taken someone with an aggressive mentality, as a big softie you naturally take the path of least to no resistance. and yes, he could have gotten inside position at the point of the screen/pick at the free throw line area, the opportunity was there, just not his personality to do so.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Just complete bullshit Mr. Krispy Kreme. The play was run just as drawn-up. Butler screening Pau's man so Pau could get the shot off over the head of the smaller player. If Pau went inside he would have had to turn his body to get off a short jumper or perhaps shoot with his left hand. If he had to turn his body

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    To finish: if he had to turn his body it would have been a more difficult shot plus he may not have been able to get the shot off in time. In any event, the pass was not good.

    Just another example of you going out of you way to malign Pau. I suppose you still hold a grudge against him for not giving you an autograph when you were at the Children's zoo.

  • I guess it took until last night but I'm done with Derrick Rose, done with hoping for him to become anything resembling what he used to be. I tend to be optimistic and have always been a Rose backer but I have run out of hope and faith.

    Hoisting up six 3s in 20 minutes, are you f---ing kidding me? I guess they can keep trotting him out there if they feel like they want to get something in return for their investment in him, but if he's going to play like this, they're better off without him, and that's not even including salary implications. The team plays better with Aaron Brooks.

    - It was always a long shot to build a championship team around a small PG. Almost never happens.

    - As Doug used to write, it was always a long shot that Rose would come back as a good enough player to lead the team to a championship but it was also the Bulls' best shot.

    - Those long shots just haven't worked out, no surprise, that's why they're called long shots.

    It's time to move on, IMO. We will see this trainwreck play out for another full season before the team does what it needs to do, building around Niko and Jimmy.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Oh yeah and Noah too. The Rose-Noah era is over, though we'll have to wait another year for the organization to move on.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Yea, someone should have had the balls to tell him not to take a single 3 point shot last night even if they left him wide open for 24 seconds. He needs to be awakened out of the state of self delusion that comes with doing nothing but rehabbing for 2 years, like slapped in the face by teammates and coaches with the reality that he sucks as a 3 point shooter and does nothing but hurt the team by jacking them up without a care in the world.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    It's not that Derrick Rose is at his best when he's attacking, it's that he's a downright problem for the team when he isn't. The ball doesn't move well when he's on it, Brooks and Hinrich are both better at moving the ball. If he's not ready to attack, he shouldn't play in the game at all because he's pretty much a disaster out there at both ends. Every minute he's not going to attack, he should sit. If that means he plays only 15 minutes a game, fine.

    Every time he shoots the 3 he does the other team a favor. It's almost like turning the ball over. I think he's been permanently affected by the way LeBron shut him down in the playoffs so he thinks he needs a killer step back 3 to be a complete player. I understand where he gets the idea that he needed a 3.

    What I don't understand is why he thinks he has a killer 3 that he just needs to keep shooting. He needed either a step back 3 OR better teammates to pass to, he has the latter now but not the former. He finally has the offensive help we all screamed for, but now he's the one who can't hold up his end. The expectations have been lowered for him, we just want him to utilize his teammates and occasionally attack but he's not doing it.

  • I'm not even surprised the Bulls lost this one. For one, the magic are just too young and athletic for this elderly soft Bulls team. The Magic have kicked the crap out of the Bulls all season and does one of the best jobs IMO of exploiting the Bulls weaknesses. You can't expect to much when your playing guys like Dunleavy, Gasol, don't play Snell at all, Noah out of position, and Mirotic ( probably the teams best big ) as your 4th big off the bench out of position as well.

    As for Rose, no surprises here. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt but we see how that went. On the bright side he did move well and you can't really expect much given the situation. Having said all that I'm glad we lost. I really don't want the Bulls to finish 3rd and have to face Cleveland in the second round. Noah must've been high or out of his mind when he said he wants the Cavs. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Bulls get beat in the 1st round to the Wizards yet again who by the way are on a win streak and only 1 game behind the Bulls.

  • Echo the comments on not playing Snell, the Bulls are really lacking perimeter defense and he's way better than Kirk or Dunleavy. Game winning shot, Oladipo blows by Jimmy (as he's done all year) and Jo and Snell don't help giving him an easy layup. If Snell would have played earlier, maybe he's better prepared for that situation. Jimmy can't be the only half-way decent perimeter defender against some of the potential matchups Bulls will face, especially with the interior defense wilting this season as well. Jo is just slow to react, and I don't expect much from him now. Remember how awesome a help-defender he used to be? Taj also missed a bunny late that really hurt.

  • In reply to JC 2012:

    Agree that perimeter defense has not been good this year. Rose, Brooks, and Hinrich have all been turnstiles on defense and the numbers back it up. Butler (my favorite Bull) has spent so much energy in order to increase his offensive production, that his defensive tenacity has decreased, IMHO.

    Since the rules on hand-checking have changed perimeter players are now dominating the league. FWIW, I think this has made the game better and more exciting. Curry, Harden, and Westbrook are now MVP candidates- not players like the Gasols, Howard, Lopez, Duncan, etc.

    Similarly, in the NFL, rule changes have now made the passing game more exciting. Speed kills. That is why the teams with the best secondaries (Pats, Seahawks, etc.) survive in the playoffs. In other words, teams need athletes on defense now for both sports. An example, Kawai Leonard on defense murdered the Heat in the Finals last year. There is no way the Spurs could have beaten that team w/o his outstanding play.

    I understand why the Bulls wanted McDermott. They needed more shooting threats. However, in retrospect, with the decline in our perimeter defense, even if McDermott scores 15+ points next year, the Bulls may still struggle against teams with athletes like Payton, Oladipo, the Freak, Kyrie, etc. etc. going forward.

  • In reply to JC 2012:

    Butler may or may not have an advantage offensively as a SG, likely so. However, I have always argued that his best or better position was SF because he is physically better suited to guard there. He had problems chasing SG's around most of last season, it was especially painful watching him have no answer for Beal in the playoffs. The Bulls have a huge decision to make with Jimmy, because the answer to it determines whether they pursue a starting caliber SF or SG. My sense is that they've deluded themselves into thinking that Jimmy is a superstar at SG, even though it is clear that he struggles guarding the position.

    Personally, I'd still like to see them take a run at Rudy Gay(since we passed on the easily available Jeff Green earlier this season), even though it does leave Butler at SG, but Sacto probably has no interest in moving him at all nevermind for Taj and a pick, ours or theirs perhaps.

  • Interesting read on the topic of Noah....

  • In reply to JoMamaz:

    This could very well be that long-anticipated decline for Noah. He just tried to dunk and Birdman blocked him.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Miami is on a 16-4 run and the Bulls worst players are Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    You have to give votes to Snell and Mirotic as well.

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    In reply to hgarbell:

    Taj is worse than all of them. At least Snell is playing decent defense on Wade. And Mirotic...I blame his in-effectiveness fully on Thibs.

    No reason he should be playing the 3 just to accommodate terrible Taj.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Yes Taj is terrible and Niko is cold. I really can't watch it anymore.

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    In reply to Roman F:

    How about Terrible Taj with probably the worst missed dunk I've ever seen. He was wide open. No one in sight. He might as well had been on the court by himself. And still bricked it. Then proceeds to give up an and-1. Forget Gasol. At least he does good things on the court. Taj has got to go.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    The real question is do you want 2 more years of Gasol starting at center or 2+ more years of Noah starting at center.

    The article's main conclusion is that besides Noah being injured the biggest problem is the presence of Gasol and Thibs refusal to split them up. The author suggests(correctly) that Noah should start and Gasol should be his backup. It doesn't say so directly, but intimates that Niko should start with him and Taj should be his backup. Some people have been saying some form of that since training camp.

  • Bulls are again under .500 over their past 43 games 21-22, not exactly Spursing their way into the playoffs. Don't look now but the Spurs and Cavs appear to be playing the best ball in the league right now.

    I imagine that no one has ever come close to winning a title with that kind of a record over that long of a period of time. I guess the Knicks made the finals from the 8 seed in the strike shortened season 99. Houston won it all from the 6 seed in one of the 2 Jordan retirement years 94,95.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Conversely playing great ball down the stretch doesn't guarantee that both Spurs AND Cavs will win the championship. So playing great ball by the best team may translate into a higher probability of winning a championship but the end result of a 2 nd best playing team is similar to a Bulls underachieving team ..just saying...

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    My god. Taj and Joakim goddamn terrible. Even more apparent when playing together. Add the retarded decision to play them together WITH Klank and it became a shitfest.

    Rose and Mirotic didn't stand a chance because the entire heat defense focused on them and let Taj and Kirk shoot airballs and miss layups.

  • Credit to the Bulls, Thibs made adjustments and Spoelstra didn't. Heat couldn't stop Aaron Brooks and Dunleavy had a rare good stretch. Pau came up big when needed.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    As PER usual, more than half of Gasol's production occurred in the first quarter, with the Bulls only up 20-18 at the end.

  • The Bulls decided to get the band back together in the third quarter - guess they flipped that switch!

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