Bulls

Sam: Rose won't blame poor shooting on ankle

Sam: Rose won't blame poor shooting on ankle

Saturday, April 23, 2011
Posted: 7:58 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com
INDIANAPOLIS Derrick Roses late first-quarter ankle injury likely put the collective mindset of Bulls fans in a state of panic and rightfully so. His coaches and teammates were similarly concerned.

Oh, we were all scared, for sure, when he goes down. A lot of guys in the NBA, they get hurt or they get bumped, they really milk it. They want everybody to know that theyre playing in pain, said Kyle Korver. Theres a lot of those guys out there and Derricks not one of them. He had to roll it pretty good, so youre definitely worried.

Echoed Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau: Derrick doesnt leave the game unless hes hurt, so for him to leave, Im sure he tweaked it pretty good.

WATCH: Thibodeau shares his thoughts on Rose's ankle

As for Rose himself, however, he was more irritated than worried at the time of the injury, called a left-ankle sprain by both Rose and a Bulls spokesman.

Im good. Thats basketball. If anything, Im going to be able to rest in couple of days and during the game, I just wanted to keep moving. When you twist your ankle as a guard, the best thing to do is to tie up your shoes tighter and keep playing, said Rose, who walked up and down the Conseco Fieldhouse interview rooms podium steps with a noticeable limp.

Rose finished a tough shot in traffic with 1:14 remaining in the first quarter, fell to the floor and immediately limped over to the Bulls sideline, unable to get back on defense. After play stopped on the other end of the court, he headed to the visiting locker room with Bulls head trainer Fred Tedeschi.

I really cant explain it. Just took off wrong and all my weight just pushed over on one ankle and end up twisting it, said Rose, who got an X-ray after the contest. I just wanted to come back out quick. I didnt want to sit down; they the Bulls training staff were trying to sit me down and I was just trying to come back, and just keep playing.

My thing was just keep it moving and hurry up, and put me back in the game.

Rose refused to blame his 6-for-22 shooting performancehe was 1-for-9 from three-point range and only attempted four free throws; his lack of explosiveness was most evident when Pacers point guard Darren Collison (ironically, he also suffered a sprained ankle during the series) blocked his fast-break layupon the injury.

No excuses. Playoffs. Ive sprained my ankle a million times. I just wasnt able to hit shots, said Rose. Of course when you twist your ankle, its going to slow you down a little bit, but all my shots were on target. They were just short.

I didnt attack enough. I think if I would have kept on attacking, they would have had to make the call, but I eased off.

Regardless, Indiana s strategy of defending him with 6-foot-8 rookie swingman Paul George and physical veteran Dahntay Jones was effective, although Rose appeared to regain some of his burst down the stretch, when he helped forced Pacers turnovers and converted them into Bulls points on the other end, fueling Chicago s late rally.

Poohs a warrior and he wants to be out there and compete. I feel like even Pooh not at 100 percent, he still affects the game with his presence, said Joakim Noah. They did a good job of putting two on him. Every time they set a pick, they always double teamed him and its on us to make a play.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Looking for culture reset, Bulls find themselves in the middle of more drama

Looking for culture reset, Bulls find themselves in the middle of more drama

It was supposed to be an uneventful and culture-resetting season for the Chicago Bulls, but that ended the moment Bobby Portis’ hand connected with the sweet spot on Nikola Mirotic’s face.

Now a light is shining on an unwilling franchise and rightful questions are again being asked about what led to the event, rather than the result.

Mirotic will be out four-to-six weeks with facial fractures and a concussion to boot and Portis was suspended for the first eight games of the season, leaving rookie Lauri Markkanen to man the power forward spot against the likes of Serge Ibaka and LaMarcus Aldridge his first two games.

Welcome to the NBA, kid.

It’s likely he received his wake-up call when he saw his teammates exchange friendly fire, though, considering the witnesses said Mirotic and Portis had been at it for awhile before Portis took one swing to conclude matters.

“Both players owned responsibility in the incident itself but only one player threw a punch. And that punch connected. For us, that is inexcusable,” Bulls Vice-President John Paxson said. “It’s not who we are.”

But when there is no discernable identity, and there’s a coaching staff who’ve witnessed these two go at it for well over two years you have to ask if this is who the Bulls are.

Not in the way of fighting but a team that collectively stands by idly while a situation builds and builds before it explodes, then is forced to clean up the carnage while having to explain and react to an unnecessary event.

Jimmy Butler, gone. Ditto for Derrick Rose. Tom Thibodeau? Dumped too before he picked up what the Bulls didn’t want in Butler on draft night, jump starting this process of the Bulls headed to Parts Unknown.

All have been blamed at some point for the state of affairs. Rose’s knees, Butler’s mouth, Thibodeau’s unwillingness to bend.

Butler took a tongue-in-cheek shot directly across the bow of his former franchise when asked about the incident involving his former teammates, saying “All I know is I’m not to blame for this one”, a nod to the narrative surrounding his trade to Minnesota.

Now who’s left to blame and what happens from here is anybody’s guess.

“When’s the right time to step in? I saw it on the best teams I played on, where you had that competitive spirit,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “You have to have it to have any chance at all. So sure, looking back on it, would we have handled the situation differently? Maybe. I don’t know.”

Both Paxson and Hoiberg expressed the rightful disappointment in Portis while also saying Mirotic had a hand in what occurred. Portis will ultimately bear the responsibility, with his eight-game suspension coming at the worst possible time as his option for next season hasn’t been picked up yet, as it’s hard to see he and Mirotic sharing the same space in a locker room whenever Mirotic returns.

And if he is still around, it’ll be on the players to keep a team from splintering — as if the expected losing won’t be depressing enough.

“As teammates, we're certainly supporting Bobby and supporting Niko,” said Robin Lopez, a de-facto leader on a young roster. “We're going to let them know that what they did, the way they messed up, wasn't right, but we're definitely supporting them.”

Lopez, along with many others, said the confrontation has been brewing for some time, that the pushing and shoving wasn’t anything new. From a human standpoint it’s understandable to sense tension as Portis has been itching for playing time for two years after playing behind veterans, anxious to cement himself on a team that drafted a player at his position four months ago.

Mirotic came in as a golden boy of sorts, handed a starting spot by Hoiberg two years ago and given every chance to snag a starting spot last year before Taj Gibson aggressively stepped in.

His up-and-down performances were rewarded with a $12-plus million deal this offseason and although players usually don’t count each other’s money, they take note of who’s favored and who isn’t.

Mix in competition and ego days before the season began and it’s not surprising something was on the horizon.

But it’s up to a coaching staff to step in, as assistant coach Randy Brown did before the parties were separated in the hope things would settle down.

They didn’t, and now Hoiberg will start yet another season having his aptitude to coach a professional team questioned before he can call an official play or lay out a rotation — because Portis laid Mirotic out on the Advocate Center floor.

Hoiberg desperately wants to change the narrative surrounding his first two years, eager to prove his system can work and that he’s capable of commanding a team that plays hard and organized on a nightly basis.

Whether this is an omen or a random event, it certainly doesn’t bode well for Hoiberg to his detractors.

He stood to the side while Paxson addressed the media, appearing both bewildered and shocked he was having to address such a rare situation a little more than 24 hours before his season-opening cleanse was to occur.

“I’m very disappointed in what happened,” Hoiberg said. “Now, my job is to not let this moment derail us. My job is to get these guys prepared to go out and fight and play as a group, and I’m confident our guys will do that. They’ve shown that going all the way back into late August.

“I’m confident our guys will rally around each other. I’ve seen how much these guys care for each other, and we’re going to go into Toronto tomorrow as a group. We’re going to learn from this. We’re going to grow from this. We’re going to compete, I promise you that.”

It’s clear the Bulls want to extricate themselves from the past couple years and now recent events, but when things are swept under the rug they have a funny way of reappearing at the weirdest times.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Could the Bobby Portis-Nikola Mirotic fight have been prevented?

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Could the Bobby Portis-Nikola Mirotic fight have been prevented?

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski and Vincent Goodwill react to Bobby Portis’ eight-game suspension and how the Bulls handled the incident with Nikola Mirotic. Mark and Vinnie also discuss how the injury and suspension thrusts Lauri Markkanen into the starting power forward spot and the impact on the rest of Fred Hoiberg’s rotation. Plus the duo previews the season opener against the Raptors.