Bulls

Ailing Rose a game-time decision vs. Cavs

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Ailing Rose a game-time decision vs. Cavs

CLEVELANDGiven his competitive nature, to rule him out right now would be premature. But it seems unlikely that Derrick Rose will return to the Bulls lineup Friday to face the Cavaliers.

The swelling went down. The pain is there a little bit, but its a game-time decision. I definitely want to be out there to play, especially today, Rose said at the teams morning shootaround at Quicken Loans Arena. But Ive got to make the smartest decision, not only for me, but for my teammates.

Knowing that right when it starts feeling good, it could go right back to zero, he continued. Ill go out there, see how it goes and if its not working, Ive got to sit out.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was cautious in his appraisal of his point guards health status.

Well see. He was feeling better yesterday. Hes feeling a little better today. Thatll be a game-time decision. Well see when he warms up tonight how hes feeling, said Thibodeau, who noted that Rose has had five days of rest and treatment. I dont think anyone can say how he feels. He has to say how he feels. So, if hes feeling good, then he plays. If hes not, then he wont.

I dont want him to go through the shootaround, he added. Just to be locked in mentally. Maybe do some stretching, but thatll be about it.

Rose admitted that his turf-toe injury is causing him pain and revealed its similar to the ailment he suffered in his second season.

Its exactly what it is. I wasnt able to be on my toe in three years, so when that happened, it bent it and it aggravated it, and I played on it sooner than when I was supposed to play on it and it was real bad, he said. This is kind of worse than my second season. My second season, I just played through it, but it wasnt that bad and not being able to be on my toe in three years, and someone put all their weight on my toe, it definitely hurt it.

The leagues reigning MVP, who said hell attempt to warm up prior to Friday evenings contest against the Central Division rival Cavaliers, acknowledged that playing after the initial injury may have been a rash decision.

A little regret, but it just comes with basketball, he said. Injuries are going to happen. Thats why I always get treatment and I always see my trainer.

The former No. 1 overall draft pick expressed disappointment that he might not be able to match up with Cavaliers rookie point guard Kyrie Irving, the top selection in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Somebody that Id love to play tonight. Hes a great player, even at a young age. You can tell that he knows a lot about the game. A skilled player. Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott is letting him do a great job of playing through his mistakes and I know he wont do anything but get better, Rose gushed. Hes kind of got like a smooth game. Smooth game, good passer, basketball I.Q. is very high. Im a fan of him, especially when he was at Duke.

Thibodeau shared similar sentiments about Irving, who along with fellow first-round pick Tristan Thompson, an athletic power forward out of Texas, have led Cleveland to a surprisingly competitive early-season start.

The thing thats probably stood out more than anything is the way hes been shooting the ball and the poise in which hes playing. Hes stopping behind the screen, shooting the ball, pulling up for the three. Shooting 38 percent from three is very impressive. He plays very, very hard and hes showing poise for a rookie, said Thibodeau. Well, a player that talented, youre never surprised, but what hes done thus far, hes playing almost like a veteran. You can tell hes fearless and I love his demeanor on the floor. You watch and you just see its a guy that has a lot of confidence. Hes doing a great job with their team.

Thompson has been phenomenal. High energy and you cant make mistakes with him. Body-position mistakes, hell make you pay, so hes been very impressive, as well, as has their team, he went on to say. Theyve had a tough early schedule with a lot of road games. I think theyve played very well in those games, but theyre hard-playing, theyre playing unselfish. I think Byrons done a great job with them.

Regardless of whether Rose plays or not, Thibodeau is more concerned about the challenge the Cavs present in the Bulls 11th road game of the young, condensed NBA campaign. In his typical fashion, the coach flipped the pretense of his squads travel-heavy slate into a positive.

Well, the thing that I did like was to be on the road early like we have been has given us an opportunity to spend some time together, which I think is good and I think it gets you ready because you have to be ready to play, so from that standpoint its been good, he said. I would have liked to have had more practice time, but thats the way it is and even in a normal NBA season, thats the way it is. Theres always a point every season where you may have an extended road trip or a lot of back-to-back games, so your practice time is limited and you have to make the most of your film session, you walkthroughs in the ballroom, things like that.

I like the way our team has responded, but you have to be ready tonight. You cant look behind, you cant look ahead. Just concentrate on whats in front of you.

Portis 2.0? Bulls get mature, hard worker in Daniel Gafford: 'He has a great feel for who he is'

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USA TODAY

Portis 2.0? Bulls get mature, hard worker in Daniel Gafford: 'He has a great feel for who he is'

Had Daniel Gafford kept his name in the 2018 NBA Draft as a freshman, he likely would have walked across the stage and shook the commissioner’s hand as a first-round selection. The Arkansas center instead returned to school for his sophomore season and, despite individual successes, saw his draft stock fall out of the first round.

Draft evaluators would consider his decision to return to school a failed attempt at betting on oneself. But Gafford, who the Bulls made the No. 38 pick on Thursday night, knew he wasn’t ready for the NBA and instead got himself ready for the league on his own terms.

“I decided to come back to get that year under my belt. If I would have came out my freshman year, this process would have (eaten) me up,” Gafford said Monday at the Advocate Center. “And I didn’t want that to happen.”

That maturity and self-awareness was apparent during Gafford’s introductory press conference that also included first-round pick Coby White, VP John Paxson and head coach Jim Boylen. He made no excuses for why he may have slipped to the second round in what was largely considered a weak draft class – “it could have been me, it could have been the draft – but owned that reality that he says will only push him to work harder.

Both Paxson and Boylen saw that ownership in the pre-draft process. Ironically enough, it reminded both of Bobby Portis, another Arkansas big man selected by the Bulls.

“His spirit of who he was in the interview, at the pre-draft camp, to where he came in and worked out for us, it was a Bobby-like spirit,” Boylen said. “Competitive, toughness, compete, take coaching, take correction, learn on the fly. We changed his free throw a little bit just when he came in for the workout. He was able to pick it up. Things like that.”

It’s common – and almost a requirement – for draft picks to describe their competitive nature and willingness to work hard in introductory interviews. But none of it felt rehearsed or fake with Gafford, who admitted he’s far from a finished product but also said he’s willing to improve wherever he can.

Gafford, who said he became a Portis fan before he even committed to Arkansas, won’t provide the same versatility as Crazy Eyes did in his time with the Bulls. Gafford is a true center, a rim-runner whose offense will come from pick-and-rolls and offensive rebounds – “I treat every shot like a miss,” he said when describing his rebounding prowess – and who will be relied upon to defend the rim on the other end. He admitted that at times he’s guilty of expanding his game too far but that he’s gotten better at realizing his strengths and playing to them. That’s something Boylen said stuck out to him when he first met Gafford in the pre-draft process.

“There’s an art in the world of kind of knowing who you are, and he has a great feel for who he is as a player,” Boylen said. “Again, he adds to our vertical spacing, he adds to our athleticism, our length, our competitiveness, and again, he looks you in the eye when you talk to him, he has a great spirit.”

The expectation is that Gafford will slide in behind Wendell Carter Jr. on the depth chart at center. There’s been no indication that the Bulls plan to bring back Robin Lopez, and Cristiano Felicio won’t be part of any rotation unless the Bulls are playing for Lottery balls in March and April.

His skill set also gives the Bulls an added dimension. He’s built like and plays like Clint Capela, a comparison he agreed with on Monday, and should allow the Bulls to run more in the open court. He’s an unfinished product (despite being 6 months older than Carter) but will get to learn on the fly for the rebuilding Bulls.

A new skill set, a hard worker and a guy who returned to Arkansas for his sophomore season to hone his game. Though they’re different players at different positions, the Bulls would be more than happy if Gafford’s career panned out the same as Portis’.

“Bobby was great for us and a great kid and I think that Daniel’s in that same mold, maybe on a different style of play, different position,” Boylen said. “He adds to our versatile spacing and our length and our athleticism. (The) Arkansas program has been good to us, so we’re gonna keep it going here.”

Michael Jordan and Cristiano Ronaldo come together for legendary photo

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USA TODAY

Michael Jordan and Cristiano Ronaldo come together for legendary photo

Michael Jordan and Cristiano Ronaldo might come from different sports, but they share something in common in that they are two of the best athletes ever.

The duo came together over the weekend, with the latter posting a photo on Instagram to commemorate the moment. The post's caption — "We made history." — does all the talking. Check it out:

View this post on Instagram

We made history ⚽️🏀🥇

A post shared by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

Legendary.

Jordan and Ronaldo are two of the most decorated athletes in sports history. While it's unclear what they were doing, it likely involved greatness in some regard.

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