The sight of Derrick Rose sitting on the sidelines in his casual gear might have had Chicago fans worried, yesterday evening, but a defiant performance from the Central leaders proved that the Bulls can still reel in the wins without their linchpin, D-Rose.
Rose has “general soreness” in his groin, and was on bench-warming duties for the duration of the Bulls’ 106-102 victory over the Miami Heat in Illinois. The injury to the NBA’s Most Valuable Player is believed to be unrelated to the car accident he was involved in on Tuesday.
John Lucas III snatched a team-high 24 for Chicago, in a match that few expected the Bulls to win. Joakim Noah added 14, while Ronnie Brewer and Luol Deng ended on 12 and 11, respectively.
For the Heat, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade grabbed a combined 71 points, with the latter player on 36, one point more than James. Chris Bosh was the only other Miami player to get into double figures, with 12.
The Bulls have yet to play the Heat this season with a full squad. Chicago lost 97-93 to the Heat in January, due in part to the absence of Luol Deng. Fate almost repeated itself; Deng was out with a wrist injury earlier this week.
Chicago coach, Tom Thibodeau, believes that last night’s win shows the Bulls have strength in depth: “There is a belief that we can win when we’ve had guys out, because the next guy steps up and does the job”.
Bulls fans are not quite so convinced that their team can ‘go it alone’ without D-Rose. A recent poll on the Bleacher Report website indicates that 84% of respondents believe that Rose’s health is more important than Chicago’s quest to secure the no.1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
It is debatable whether the Bulls can even achieve the latter without the former, given Rose’s prowess on the court for the season. With shooting accuracy of 45% from the floor, the three-time NBA All-Star has taken an average of 22.8 points from games this season, as well as 8 assists and 3.5 rebounds.
Fortunately, for Bulls fans, at least, Rose’s condition is being assessed on a ‘day-by-day’ basis, meaning his return is imminent.
Those looking to bet on basketball should keep note of these developments.