The Chicago Bulls are now 9-6 after falling short to the Denver Nuggets Tuesday night. Rose only played 10 minutes and left in the first half due to persisting pain in his hamstring. The final score was 114-109, with two points belonging to Rose, definitely not enough to give the Bulls an edge as they never even took the lead. He is just one of three injured players, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson sat this game out, so the rookie Cameron Bairstow got his first NBA start. Although Jimmy Butler reached a career high of 32 points Chicago needed more help, it was a lethargic effort from the Bulls, who were pretty unsteady on the boards allowing 50 points inside.
Chicago’s reserves brought them back in the second quarter, playing against a weak Denver bench with Aaron Brooks scoring eight points. The Bulls got within 42-36, however the Nuggets opened up the floor with great passing when the starters returned and went up by seven a little before the half. Pau Gasol played well in the post and Butler was able to power inside with 11 trips to the line and 17 points in the first half.
Despite missing three starters, the Bulls were only down 56-49 by halftime, and even closed the lead to 64-61 when Mike Dunleavy stole the ball from Ty Lawson for a fast break and layup. But the Nuggets would not go away, Lawson answered with a three-point play to extend Denver’s lead to 86-76 going into the fourth quarter. Gasol who finished the game with 22 points and 11 rebounds, converted a three-point play bringing Chicago within seven with two minutes left on the clock, Butler also converted on a three-point play with 31.4 seconds remaining changing the score to 109-106, but Lawson, the games MVP hit a step-back jumper in Hinrich’s face with just 8.3 seconds left to get the win.
Tom Thibodeau stated his frustration with Roses consistent injuries saying, “He’s to get out there and play, you can tell he isn’t very comfortable with the ball yet, but that will come. When Derrick gets a good rhythm going, he will take off. The bottom line is he’s got to go.” Chicago is in for a very long season, they are going to need better assistance off the bench as well as another offensive threat because of their injury prone roster and Jimmy Butler opting for unrestricted free agency for the upcoming year; some power moves could definitely be made.
The new $24 billion TV deal is looming and the NBA is soon to go through a considerable money flux. Butler is a young, extremely gifted player with the aptitude to become an All Star, one of the best at his position, and a lot of teams would easily make him an offer well above $15 million. The worst thing for the Chicago Bulls right now is Derrick’s inability to remain healthy; he succumbs to different types of injuries nearly every week, and even if he is able to fully recover it may be too late because they are in dire need of a leader who can give more to the franchise. Rose is only 26, heading into the prime of his career, still without a ring but in the world of basketball, literally anything could happen, even his resurgence to the top.
Commentary By Darius McCullum