Richard Hamilton and Derrick Rose are slowly on the mend. Derrick Rose ran in water which was the first type of running he’s done, and Richard Hamilton was able to go through a non contact practice. Both players will likely miss another week, but they’re making progress towards recovery.
Of the two injuries, Rose’s injury strikes me as the more concerning of the two in terms of recovery time, likelihood of relapse, and obviously importance of his absence. Let’s face it. Richard Hamilton has played so rarely and with up and down success that his loss isn’t really felt much. We just expect him out.
The Bulls have fought courageously without Rose. They’re 11-4 in the 15 games he’s sat out including marquee wins against Boston, Miami, Orlando, and Philadelphia. That 11-4 pace would be 60 wins in an 82 game season while the Bulls are on a 67 win pace while Rose has played.
The Bulls might skate to the ECF with Rose at 90%, but they’ll likely need him at his best to get past Miami (despite Lucas’s one game heroics in his absence in their last matchup). If you’ve ever suffered through a groin injury, then you know how difficult an injury it can be to recovery from. Relapses are common and the recovery time is long.
If Rose is simply running in water now then my original hope for an April 1st recovery against Oklahoma City seems awfully optimistic. Given the latest news, I’d have to surmise Rose is still two weeks away or more. Hopefully Chicago can continue to play at a high level without him.
Which Bulls team comes out?
The second game of a home and home is always interesting to me, because in the first game we saw the Raptors outplay the Bulls for three quarters and then completely collapse. Do the Bulls come out and play defense and just crush the Raptors this game or can Toronto get their crap together and not completely collapse on the way to a win?
Even without Rose, I think the Bulls are simply the better team. I expect Chicago to beat the Raptors on the glass, to get more points inside the paint, to generate more fast break points, and play better defense. However, the challenge for Chicago, as always, will be creating shots from the perimeter.
Luol Deng hasn’t been able to generate any offense outside of catch and shoot scenarios for weeks while Brewer and Korver are both largely reliant on other players to create shots for them. Lucas and Watson can both create looks, but both are extremely streaky players that run hot and cold.
Despite their flaws the Bulls will roll
Sure, Chicago has plenty of weaknesses with Rose out [and some flaws even when he’s not], but the Raptors simply aren’t that good. They don’t have any truly reliable offensive players to create good looks and their defense isn’t likely to hold back Chicago too much. The Bulls are simply the better and stronger team and playing at home, plus Toronto is coming off a back to back whereas the Bulls are on a couple of days rest.