Monday, May 6, 2013

Let The Derrick Rose Shit Talking Commence!

The banged up Bulls put year one of Brooklyn-era basketball in the books Saturday night, beating the Nets 99-93 in a win or go home game 7 at the Barclay Center. Joakim Noah scored 24 points to go along with 14 rebounds and 6 blocks (on one leg), and Jimmy Butler played all 48 minutes while filling in for the hospitalized Luol Deng. Gutsy performances like these have become a staple for Bulls' teams under Coach Thibodeau, but this year's group of guys are in a class of their own when it comes to overcoming adversity.

The Bulls knew this season wasn't going to be easy from the get-go. They planned to be without Derrick Rose, the only man in the past five years not named LeBron James to win an MVP award, for an extended period of amount of time as he recovered from an ACL tear, as the injury bug predictably bit guys like Noah, Richard Hamilton and Kirk Hinrich along the way.

But that didn't stop Chicago from winning 45 games and allowing the third fewest points in the league. They also put the clamps on Miami's quest for 34 straight in late March.

As the playoffs came around, everyone was quick to take their game to the next level. Like journeyman Nate Robinson, who scored 23 points in the fourth quarter of game 4. A game in which his team trailed by 14 points with four minutes remaining, yet won 142-134 in 3 OT's. Marco Belinelli put up a season high 24 points in the deciding game of round 1, and Carlos Boozer has upped both his points and rebounds per game numbers from the regular season.

Seemingly, everyone on their roster has risen to the occasion. With the exception, of course, being their captain.

The Derrick Rose situation is a sticky one, but when it comes down to it, the decision of whether or not to test out his bum leg should be his alone to make. But that hasn't stopped everyone from media outlets to message board dwellers from calling out his "toughness", or in some cases, much worse.

It's been nearly 60 days since Rose's doctor gave him the okay to play, which only makes his decision to wear a suit instead of sneakers that much more polarizing. Rose has spoke openly about the benefits of not rushing back from his injury and taking the whole season off, saying he would surely "come back a better player", but that's not what Bulls fans or management wants to hear. Especially when they're just 12 wins away from their first championship in 15 years.

The Bulls kick off their second round matchup verse Miami tonight, and although the Heat are the proverbial favorites to win their second straight title, Chicago knows they have their number. They'll be without Hinrich and Deng, as they both recover from various illnesses, as well as D Rose, who is set to miss his 90th game of the season. But as Bills Simmons perfectly worded in his Thirty Questions column for Grantland last week "Nobody wants to be the next Guy Who Came Back Too Soon," which is why at the end of the day you have to respect Rose's decision to not put the remainder of his career in jeopardy. We saw the Nats do it with Straburg last fall, and we certainly haven't seen the last of players who put health before championships.

I'm sure everyone in Chicago is holding out hope that Rose can pull a Willis Reed this series versus LeBron & company, but it's tough to do when you don't have a leg to stand on.

-fresh (@danye33)

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