Bulls

Bulls: Rose puts Game 4 loss on himself after defensive gaffe

roseyroserose.png

Bulls: Rose puts Game 4 loss on himself after defensive gaffe

Derrick Rose turned his head for a split second, which was all the time the Milwaukee Bucks and Jerryd Bayless needed to slip him underneath the rim, and give Rose 48 hours of kicking himself after 48 minutes of exhilarating but mishap-filled basketball.

The Milwaukee Bucks registered a win in their first-round series with a 92-90 win at the BMO Harris Bradley Center when Bayless slipped by the Bulls point guard for a layup at the buzzer off an inbounds pass with 1.3 seconds left.

“It was honestly trying to beat them backdoor,” said Bayless, a reserve guard who’s gotten into his share of physical scrums in this series, backing down from no one. “We were hoping he was going to bite, and he bit on it. (Jared Dudley) made a spectacular pass and luckily I was able to finish it.”

The misery immediately followed a Rose turnover where Bayless stopped Rose dead in his tracks, forcing the Bulls’ season-high 28th turnover of the night—and although Bayless’ game-winner didn’t register as a turnover, it’s the kind of mental mistake the Bulls can’t afford to give up in this round—or any round.

“I put that all on me. I just wasn’t paying attention to it. Great call from J-Kidd. But if anything, it’s a learning experience,” Rose said. “Knowing we could’ve forced overtime. I missed things up.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up for the playoffs, Bulls fans!]

After early struggles, Rose had a sterling fourth-quarter before his last two mishaps, including a triple that cut the Bucks’ lead to 90-87 with 1:05 left, followed by feeding Pau Gasol the next possession for a layup and three-point play that tied the game with 38 seconds left. It was the kind of help Jimmy Butler had been begging for all night, as the fourth-leading scorer in the playoffs put up 33 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 40 minutes.

“Jimmy did a great job with holding us up and making sure we were comfortable throughout the game,” Rose said. “I tried to stay out the way here and there, and the times I did, I gotta cut down on my turnovers.”

 They often talk about taking what the “game” gives them, and by way of their carelessness for 48 minutes, the game delivered them a loss when they could’ve kicked their feet up for the next week to rest for Round 2.

“I just told the team this, I’m not going to put it on that last play,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “There were a lot of other plays throughout the course of the game … we didn’t play well. When you turn the ball over like that you’re not going to have success.”

The Bulls treated the ball as if it were diseased, with the third-highest amount of turnovers in a playoff game in the last 25 years.  Their first-quarter turnover issues carried over to the final three, as Rose, Nikola Mirotic and Gasol took center stage for all the wrong reasons.

Rose gave it away eight times while Gasol had five turnovers of his own and Mirotic, who returned from missing Game 3 with a left knee strain, had three turnovers in 20 minutes, leading to 39 Bucks points.

While his teammates were listed as “missing” on a milk carton, Butler did the heavy lifting against a balanced and emotional Bucks team that wouldn’t give the Bulls an inch, literally or figuratively. The animosity from Game 2 returned after a one-game absence, with multiple technical fouls and physical confrontations.

Butler helped rally the Bulls from a 46-34 deficit in the second quarter, scoring or assisting in 18 of the Bulls’ final 20 points of the period. Scoring seven points in the last 28 seconds—including a ridiculous 3-point bank shot at the buzzer—tied the game at 50.

[GOODWILL: Bucks' progression through series should alarm Bulls]

But the Bucks didn’t fold, behind their formidable bench of Bayless, Dudley, John Henson and OJ Mayo, who kept the Bulls at bay with four 3-point daggers and led the Bucks with18 points in 23 minutes.

 Their resolve was somewhat surprising, as Mayo had a 30-foot shot-clock triple called back by review that everyone thought put the Bucks up 90-84 with three minutes remaining.

Before it was reviewed, Butler hit a three that seemed to shift the momentum before Mayo left no doubt the next time down, hitting a long triple with 12 seconds on the shot clock following two offensive rebounds.

Even when luck appeared to be on the Bulls’ side, the Bucks kept fighting it off, giving way for a miracle—as the Bulls will live in misery for 48 hours, starting with their illustrious point guard.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

2-22_76ers_matchup_nba_chi_tonight.jpg
NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

The Bulls square off against the Sixers tonight on NBC Sports Chicago, with coverage beginning at 6:30 with Bulls Pregame Live. Here are three things to watch as the Bulls begin the stretch run of their regular season.

1. The new rotation: Most of the Bulls’ rotation looks the same, but the addition of David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne will have a different feel. The Bulls clearly want to get a look at these guys before the end of the regular season, meaning they’re not just going to get sporadic minutes. They’ll have to play through their mistakes, play out-matched at times and be put in uncomfortable situations. But the Bulls need to see what they have, especially in Payne, who has missed the entire season to this point with a broken foot.

2. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons: They’re quite the 1-2 punch and have the Sixers looking at their first playoff appearance since Derrick Rose hadn’t yet torn an ACL. Yeah, that’s a long time. Embiid just finished his first All-Star appearance (starting in his second year) and Simmons is the front runner for Rookie of the Year. The Bulls will have their hands full with these two. Luckily…

3. Kris Dunn is back: The Bulls wanted to get Dunn some run before heading to All-Star Weekend to play in the Rising Stars Challenge, and he looked healthy in that thumping against the Raptors last week. The good news is John Paxson says Dunn won’t be on a minutes limit, which means he’s healthy. That, of course, is more important than how he’s playing. It’ll be fun to see him, LaVine and Markkanen play together down the stretch. Their numbers together aren’t great, but the Bulls are 2-2 with all three in the lineup, and tanking or not…it’s more fun to watch when those three are rolling. 

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Of Bulls and Blackhawks, which team will finish with higher draft pick?

0109_zach_lavine_bulls.jpg
USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Of Bulls and Blackhawks, which team will finish with higher draft pick?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Patrick Finley (Chicago Sun-Times), Hub Arkush (ProFootball Weekly) and Jason Goch (SB Nation) join Kap on the panel.

The guys debate which team will finish with a higher draft pick when the season ends: Bulls or Blackhawks?

Plus, hear their reaction to the MLB’s new pace-of-play rule change.

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: