Bulls vs Nets 7pm on WGN - Taj out, Deng, Noah, Rose gametime decisions

Per Kc Johnson, Derrick Rose has told friends he intends to play tonight against New Jersey. He also told friends he intended to play against the Cavaliers. Let’s hope Derrick does the smart thing and rests if he’s not 100%, or let’s hope the Bulls take the decision out of his hands.

Injuries down the line aren’t looking any better. Taj is out, and he was quoted as describing his ankle sprain as a “high ankle sprain, but there was no tear”. Extrapolating that quote out, he would have a grade one high ankle sprain which still could take over a month to heal.

No one is indicating that the sprain is that bad, but high ankle sprains just don’t get better in a week in my experience covering sports injuries.

Joakim Noah is a game time decision for tonight as he’s also recovering from a more garden variety ankle sprain, and Luol Deng may sit out this game to rest a sprained wrist.

The Bulls have been dealt a lot of injuries, but they’ve been dealt with them [so far] at times where they could go with a light roster and still collect wins. Hopefully, they’re healthier later on down the line.

Is the compressed injury causing more injuries? Perhaps with Lucas/Hamilton, as a strained groin could happen from not being properly conditioned, but sprained toes, ankles, wrists, and a dislocated elbow all happened from the body part being pushed into a position it’s not designed to go.

Those injuries happen regardless of the length of training camp.

As for the game tonight..

Keys to the game

The Bulls have a tough decision. Do they show up for the game or just collectively rest the entire roster for a day and take a loss? I kid. I kid.

Run them off the three point line

New Jersey has a lot of shooters, and they shoot a lot of threes. They shoot them at a high percentage, so don’t let them shoot them. Really, it’s as simple as that. Their three point attack is more deadly than their two point attack, so don’t give up the threes particularly to Anthony Marrow.

Keep the ball movement going

The Bulls have displayed incredible passing lately. They’re moving the ball quickly from side to side, forcing the defense to rotate constantly. As the defense rotates, they’re moving off the ball well and finding open spots on the floor.

The movement has been crisper with Derrick Rose sitting out as guys have leaned on the system more rather than standing around waiting for Rose to make something happen. The big change, to me, seemed to come after the Memphis game where the team stood around waiting for John Lucas to break everyone down.

Thibodeau must have lit a fire under everyone’s ass to let them know that John Lucas is not Derrick Rose and to get their asses moving to create openings, because since then the offense has been very crisp.

Assuming Rose is back tonight, let’s hope they keep the movement going because it will make things even deadlier with Rose breaking down the defense and guys creating seams with their movement.

Box out

The Nets are the worst defensive rebounding teams in the NBA, but they’re one of the better offensive rebounding teams. The Bulls may be missing their two best offensive rebounders so taking advantage on that end may be difficult.

However, they’ll need to be especially cognizant of boxing out and defending the defensive glass to not allow New Jersey second shot opportunities. The guards will need to work especially hard as well due to the number of long rebounds that come with New Jersey jacking up threes all over the place.


If Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, and Taj Gibson all set out could we still beat the Nets? I think the answer is yes. However, it’d become an awfully tough game.

That said, rest everyone who needs rest and take your chances. The Bulls can afford a loss more than they can afford Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, or Luol Deng reaggravating their injuries.


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  • The Nets are playing B2B2B...so what does that mean for a lottery team?
    They are probably going to be shooting a whole lot of jump-shots after a few minutes of testing their legs going inside(even that is doubtful). The Bulls should let Asik stand inside and the others be in the perimeter.

    I hope Kyle Korver or Boozer click in this game as it is one of their prime opportunities to go off for a big game against a lousy team.

  • I don't believe the Bulls have much of a chance to beat any team without Rose, Deng, Noah & Gibson. We'll see. Does Rose want to come back just to play against Deron Williams?

    On another note, I was very surprised at the number of people freaking out last night over Miami this early in the season. They just turned the ball over 22 times in a loss to the Bucks. We have a chance--especially if Wade is chronically injured. Let's go plantar fasciitis! I really hope we're near 100% on Sunday. I would like to see Wade healthy for at least one game as well. The RIP vs. Wade match-up is key. Maybe we test out a little zone defense in crucial moments too.

    I was lucky enough to be given tickets to Friday's game. Club Level seats in section 210! Can't wait. Keep Rose off the court tonight. I want him healthy for Friday.

  • In reply to Jmax:

    Bucks also shot 35% in their win over Miami... WOW!

  • In reply to Jmax:

    one caveat to the Wade injury bug, Lebron plays out of his mind with Wade gone(35 PER) and before last night Miami was 6-0 with Wade in street clothes.

    Not saying that they are better without Wade, but it is becoming somewhat evident that the 2 of them are less effective as a tandem than they are as solo artists.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I agree, but it's a good caveat for the Bulls at least. We can deal with LeBron's (35 PER) if we're not getting killed by Wade and Bosh as well. But I think the biggest advantage is that Miami won't be able to trap Derrick nearly as well as they did in the ECF. Miami's perimeter D wouldn't be superb even with Battier, and you're still loosing a ton of offense in that scenario.

    Doug hit the nail on the head in Bulls Beat yesterday. Erik Spoelstra still hasn't figured out how to match LeBron and Wade effectively for an entire season. It's laughable how much better MJ and Pippen worked together than LeBron and Wade. Laughable--just like Eric Spoelstra.

    I was so sick of hearing how Spoelstra came up with this new awesome offense from watching Oregon football practice. Are you kidding me? That was a story fabricated by ESPN and it was a joke in my eyes. Increased possessions can be good, but not when you rely on the transition game too much and turn the ball over a ton.

  • Nets will use zone defence a lot tonight. They are on the last of their B2B2B so will need to conserve energy and they did use it a lot against Bobcats and it worked well.
    I think a lot of teams are starting to use the zone against teams with players who like to attack the basket and go iso. It will be used as a ploy against Derrick so the more opportunity we get in the regular season to practice against it the better. Having seen Rip attck the zone D with his little pull-ups over the secondary help he is showing 1. the skill he has and 2. how easy it is to attack the zone and get a good shot.
    The European Leagues use a lot of zone and hence rely a lot more on outside shooters (Dirk, Petrovic, Kukoc et al). Attack the zone to make it compress and kickout to the shooters. Using our best shooters (esp KK as a spot-up shooter) is the proven method of beating the zone, Derrick has the ability to break down the first line of the zone but rther than then trying to take on the covering big(s) he has to either dish to the spot-up shooter or use his little pull-up push shot we all know he has. Rarely can you attack a Zone D and get to the rim so I look forward to see how Derrick plays especiattly with Rip along side and KK as SF (with Lu out). Booz's 15-18ft jumpers should also be a big asset.
    I'm looking forward to this game more for Thib's coaching against the zone D. If we can become an efficient team offensively against the Zone it will definitely help Derrick against lane clogging teams

  • Looks like Deng is out. Now we'll see what Thibs is gonna do with Jimmy Butler.

  • IMO, it would be foolish for Rose to play tonight against NJ. WIth CJ Watson and Michael James Bulls are OK at PG. Its a meaningless game. Heck, even next weeks Miami game is meaningless. All that matters is getting and then staying healthy for the playoffs.

    Now that Deng has an injury aren't we glad Thibs had the wisdom to give Jimmy Butler a small amount of consistent minutes over the last 18 games to develop him for this eventuality? New Jersey is a perfect game to let a rookie get extended non-garbage time experience. Short-sighted of Thibs for not playing 30th pick Jimmy Butler 6-8 minutes per game the last month.

    Taj GIbson (26th pick) averaged 27 minutes over 82 games in his rookie season.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Who starts at the 3 tonight, Korver for O, or Brewer for D. I' guessing that Thibs goes for some D.

    Too bad that we didn't make a move on Corey Brewer at the trade deadline last season, or even better this season when Dallas basically gave him and Rudy to Denver to save money.

    It wouldn't suck to have both those guys without having had to give up either Taj or Asik.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I hope we get to see some Jimmy Butler but if Rose does play, I bet Thibs plays Rose & Watson together some during the game so Brewer and KK can share the SF minutes with Rose/Rip/CJ/James sharing the minutes at the guard spots.

  • In reply to Edward:

    My prediction: Hamilton/Brewer/Korver will man the 2/3 spots and maybe some Watson in a 2 PG lineup. So Butler still doesn't see the floor unless the game goes to garbage time.

    That's why the Bulls aren't bothering to develop him this year, there's already more guys in the rotation than we have minutes for when healthy.

    Taj Gibson's situation isn't really comparable at all. Tyrus injured himself very early and didn't do anything to earn back the spot afterwards. Other than Noah who else was going to play big man minutes on that team? The corpse of Brad Miller? Hakim Warrick after the trade? None of those guys were under contract for the next season either in a year the Bulls were basically just in a holding pattern for LeBron. Taj got the minutes pretty much by default.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Well, I wasn’t suggesting Jimmy Butler get the same minutes Taj did as a rookie. The 2009 Bulls were obviously nowhere near as deep. Nor was I predicting who would play against NJ.

    My point is: both Taj and Butler were late 1st round picks. If Taj got the same rookie minutes as Butler (ZERO) where would he be now? Taj would be far less developed as a player. IMO, Butler may have a similar potential level to Taj, but with Thibs we’ll never find out. Because Thibs won’t even give Butler five 1st half minutes in easy games against the worst teams in the NBA. If Thibs wanted to develop Butler he could find 5 non-garbage-time-minutes in many games. He’s simply not bothering and I believe it’s a mistake.

    While other rookies are getting valuable playing experience and developing, Butler is having a year of his career wasted. Next season’s non-guaranteeds Brewer/Korver/Watson will likely not all return in October. And Butler will have zero playing experience going into his second season. Rather short-sighted, imo.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Butler will almost certainly be a rotation player next year if he earns it. Chicago will most likely ditch Brewer and possibly Korver in an effort to stay under the tax. They'll rely on Butler to help fill in that gap.

    I would suspect that they've made Butler well aware of this plan.

  • In reply to Edward:

    What Doug said basically ... I don't think they're giving up on Butler, I think they're trying to win now with the more established players they have while they have the luxury (har har) of being able afford them under the tax.

    What would be short sighted would be to waste time trying to develop a rookie when we have better players on the roster. You never know, Rose could go down with an injury and never be the same (touch wood). You have to try to win now while you have the chance, and if that means Jimmy Butler becomes slightly less than the player he could be, so be it.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Not that I think older rookies need a whole lot of developing anyway ... look at Taj or Omer, they looked a bit lost for the first couple of dozen games they played but they pretty soon started playing at the level they have ever since. It's pretty rare for 4 year college players to take much time since they're already pretty much complete as they're going to get as players. Generally they either show they can play at the top level quickly, or they never cut it.

  • I hope Noah's ankle isn't anything that will linger, and heals quickly. He was just starting to show some signs of life.

    As bad as Derrick's toe injury sounds, I'd think at least another week off or so would be a good idea to let it really heal. Sounds like he might play a lot sooner though.

    K.C. somewhat refuted Derrick's satement that he will decide when he's good to go(and play). If Derrick is a star like a Kobe or Wade shouldn't he have major say in when he plays, and how much an injury will limit him? You just have to hope he knows his body well enough to be right.

    Jimmy Butler you'd like to see get a chance at some point just to make sure you don't have an NBA ready good player who can contribute immediately. Now the odds of that being the case with a No. 30 pick are slim, but as they did with J.J.(though he was a much higher pick at 16) you'd like to see them give him a chance.

    Riley, though I detest him, would see what talent he best offered, and then run a couple of plays suitd to exploit that talent to see what he could do. Butler's handle may be too limited to take a good defender off the dribble, but with a pick or slipped screen he might show you he can get to the basket and score. If so then inside out means whatever shooting talent he has will be at it's highest ability when he then tries a jumper preferably not threes(to start with). And if he looks really good then iso him, and see what he can do off the dribble.

    Hopefully Boozer's scoring trend will continue as well. Likewise C.J.'s overall good play. Last game he got a couple of "no-name" fouls that were B.S. Hopefully that doesn't happen tonight.

  • Agree with Edward that we should see some good minutes out of Butler tonight. We need to win these home games against crappy teams, and above all get healthy before going on the road at the end of the week.

  • In reply to PatrickM:

    I think Thibs will share the SF minutes between Ronnie and KK as Nets don't have much size at that spot (they start Stevenson then bring in Morrow - both 6'5" more natural SGs); Derrick, CJ and Rip will share the PG/SG spot. History tells us he will not want to use Jimmy B much unless its garbage time. What we have seen from him so far this year does suggest that he is worth some minutes on ability alone.

    A KK/Morrow duel will be interesting as a lot of people were calling for the Bulls to sign Morrow in 2010 - Bulls went the KK route.

  • In reply to Jersey66:

    Don't forget Marshon Brooks, who seemed to be the consensus pick among Bulls fans this past draft.

    I sort of hope that he sucks in up, so we don't have to have any regrets about taking Mirotic instead of Brooks @24.

    Supposedly Butler was one of the guys that really shut down Brooks in college.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    He did. There was a Youtube video of their one on one matchups that is gone now. Brooks couldn't get penetration on him and kept throwing up long jumpers. Butler didn't go for pump fakes.

    Brooks is playing better than I thought he would after I saw a few Nets games. He looked like a whiny chucker, but he is putting up numbers now. Still, IF Mirotic turns out to be Dirk Jr. (or even Bargnani Jr.) I won't complain.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yeah, I thought Marshon would be the best SG we might be able to get in the draft and when he was still available at 23 I thought no way we pass on him. Just have to hope Mirotic will be what we hope in 2-3 years time (out injured at present just proving he is a Bull lol)
    I think Marshon is in a good spot in NJ. They just need him there to score and that's what he's good at but I think either Rip Ronnie or CJ can keep him in check. I know he's disappointed that he's being settling for the 3s lately so hope the Bulls are ready to see him attacking the hoop.

    NJ has caused us problems before esp Hump so I hope Booz is ready for the challenge this time! He should be able to get his rainbow off quite easily over Hump but its the energy plays that Hump has previously outdone him at so lets hope!

  • Would like to see Korver and Brewer become more consistent on offense.....they're both too up and down for the season with both struggling recently. I also don't get not playing Butler at all. Isn't he suppose to be a replacement rotation player for next year since the Bulls won't be able to return brewer or korver? so why not start getting his confidence up a little by giving him some playtime. He is not James Johnson at all, he plays under control and plays within the team concept. His athleticism and energy are definitely what the bulls need on the wings. Hopefully Boozer can continue with that fadeaway express train but he should mix up his offense and try to get to the line more even if he can barely get off the ground much anymore. I would like to see the Bulls players do a better job of generating fouls to smooth out the scoring droughts.

  • Rose should be "forced" to sit out at least one more game than he thinks that he should. So if he says he is good to go tonight, then the Bulls should wait until Wednesday to bring him back.

    Given this weeks "light" schedule, I have no problem sitting Rose all week and making sure he is ready for Miami on Sunday.

    I have to quibble with you just a little bit, on the ankle sprains and such not being related to fatigue or conditioning. When you are playing tired or out of shape, you put your body in bad situations more often then you would if you were in shape. This leads to more opportunities to become injured.

    A couple of interesting tidbits from SS today. Thabo is leading the league in 3 point percentage @57%, of course as he noted on only 21 attempts. He did however score 12 4rth quarter points(including 2-2 3's) in a win over the Celtics last week.

    Thabo was a guy that I enjoyed rooting for, and I would love to still have him, but I guess that we can't complain since we got Taj for him.

    Who would you rather have right now, Taj or Thabo. I would say that Bulls fans take Taj and OKC fans take Thabo. I would be interested in what the rest of the leagues coaches and talent evaluaters would say.

    Jamal Crawford is chucking away at his worst so far, 28% from 3, 34% overall. If Rip stays healthy the more that it looks like the Bulls got the right guy given the circumstances.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    It's almost certainly just a blip, guys who shoot 31% for their career don't often become great shooters in one season. And assuming it's a blip what's the use of Thabo for the Bulls? Ronnie Brewer plays that role and is a better player.

    Likewise I don't think the Thunder would make the swap, with Ibaka they probably need Thabo for perimeter defense more than they need another shotblocker/rebounder/limited offense PF.

  • Marshon Brooks is putting up some good numbers. I guess we'll see how he looks tonight. Hopefully the Bulls guards will defend him well. If Noah's back from his ankle "injury?" and continues his somewhat resurgent play I'll be relieved. Hope Derrick isn't coming back too soon. C.J., go out and play the very good game you have shown with starter's minutes. RIP and Booz we need you. Taj get well.

  • What's going on with Luol? Seriously?


  • In reply to Jmax:

    sounds like pure speculation

  • In reply to Jmax:

    The whole "story" seems to be Thibs saying he's "disappointed" for Deng being injured which means "OMG he's out for the season". Obviously, like duh, how did we not all see that.

    Maybe it's bad, who knows, but I'm going to wait for something a bit more concrete than people trying to interpret a one line quote from the coach.

  • Thibs is disappointed that he cannot run him out for 48 minutes today and for the immediate future. Maybe, Thibs thought Deng should be able to play about 30 mins with a sling:-)

    Also, it is his non-shooting hand. It is not that Loul is our PG or he is going to lose his dribbling ability

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Was thinking exactly the same thing :)

  • Boozer leads the team in steals. 22 of em.

  • In reply to Jmax:

    shame on the rest of the guys, I guess that even a flat footed platypus(or platymapus as a certain former pop/reality star would say) accidentally gets in the way of the ball once in a while.

  • I really just think it's amazing, and somewhat comforting, that the Bulls are straight blowing out these teams while having so many injuries. Even though it's against bottom feeders, winning without your best players on the court is hard (see: Miami v. Bucks).

    Just please God, make everyone healthy by April, and give the full roster some games together before the playoffs.

    How we do against Indiana while depleted will be a good benchmark. Pre-season WITH Rip, we coasted. Without Rip tough going just like last year. For whatever reason Indy really has our number.

    Still nervous about DRose and that toe. I would be 100% fine with holding him out another week or two. We can afford to drop a few games.

  • If it wasn’t already obvious the New Jersey game made it more so. Just like last year, Thibs is playing for the regular season championship.

    Against one of the worst teams in the NBA missing its starting center and SG, Thibs plays recently injured 34 year old Richard Hamilton 42 minutes, along with should-still-be-resting-his-toe-Derrick Rose 36 minutes. Michael James who played well last game 0 minutes, rookie SF Jimmy Butler 0 minutes, CJ Watson only 14 minutes.

    Thibs is ramping up for the Indiana and Miami games. We’ll find out in May-June if this is the correct approach.

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