Derrick Rose has only been gone a couple days and the Chicago Bulls are already feeling the effect.
With their loss today, the Bulls looked like they were on a sinking ship. Without their leader, they were floating along, lost at sea. Even the rest of the league is feeling the pain. Various players and coaches voiced out their concern and prayers for the former MVP. Of course, it also benefits the other teams in the Eastern Conference that have to go through the Bulls. They can make the playoffs but it would be another quick exit like last season. The Bulls need to face the fact that Derrick Rose is sorely missed.
They will not have Rose for quite some time. He tore his medial meniscus in his right knee during the game against the Portland Trailblazers on Saturday. Rose will have surgery on Monday. The same surgeon, Brian Cole, who repaired his ACL on his left knee, will work on the right knee now. There’s some sort of consolation at least. The doctor’s familiar with him. Kirk Hinrich will be the starting point guard, which he should be familiar with it since he was there all of last season when Rose was out. Marquis Teague will serve as his backup.
Now, in their first game without Rose, the Bulls just stumbled, nearly losing by 40 points to the Los Angeles Clippers, 121-82. The last time the Clippers dominated the Bulls like that, they were still in San Diego, in 1981. Now, the Clippers are a great team and poised to have their own run in the Western Conference, but this game today made it seem like they were playing pickup. Chris Paul had a double-double with 16 points and 17 assists, Jared Dudley had a season-high 21 points, and J.J. Reddick had 19 points.
The Bulls, on the other hand, scored a woeful nine points in the fourth quarter. Joakim Noah had eight points in 22 minutes, and Hinrich had a measly nine in 28 minutes. The Bulls only made 60 percent of their free throws, which are the easiest points to score. No one is doing their job at all.
This cannot continue if the Bulls want to try to win without Derrick Rose. They are currently 6-6, second in the central Division by the Indiana Pacers who are a strong 12-1. They have to finish up their annual road trip in November with three more games against the Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz. The Miami Heat swing into town on December 2 and they still to play the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets before the year is over.
Last year, the Bulls did try to make a playoff run, beating the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, only to lose to the Heat 4-1. It can be done again. It is pretty much the same group as last year and Coach Thibodeau still runs good plays. But, if the players are not executing, points will not be scored and opposing teams will not be defended well.
Bulls fans can take that into consideration. There probably won’t be a championship banner hung this year. Even if Rose comes back in the next eight weeks as reported, he will still have to adjust. It will be a long season, because Derrick Rose is sorely missed.
By Renayle Fink