Bulls

Bulls: Derrick Rose will start against LeBron, Cavs

derrickrosemaskopener.png

Bulls: Derrick Rose will start against LeBron, Cavs

The stage of set for the Bulls’ season opener, and after PA announcer Tommy Edwards introduces the first four Bulls players, Derrick Rose will come out in uniform and not a suit.

The encouraging 10-minute stint against the Dallas Mavericks was good enough for Fred Hoiberg to say Rose will be starting against the Cleveland Cavaliers in a nationally-televised contest to officially open the NBA season, but both are cautioning against taking any long-term views for him or the team based on one night.

“It’s a long year,” Hoiberg said. “That’s where in regards to Derrick, you have to be a little careful. It is a long season. It’s a marathon. You have to prepare your guys as best you can and try to keep them healthy. It’s great to get him back.”

He won’t be on any minute restrictions, per se, but he hasn’t played any organized basketball in quite a while, so it wouldn’t be surprised to see him get pulled after an early adrenaline rush.

[MORE: Rose calls reported rift with Jimmy Butler 'so false']

Rose is still recovering from his fractured orbital bone he suffered on the first day of training camp, but the left eye is considerably better than it has been in recent weeks, erasing the doubt many had about his availability for the season opener.

“When I play, I just play with one eye,” said Rose, who admits he still has double vision but will play with a mask for however long he deems necessary. “Close the other eye until my vision is back clearer. I just close one eye and go out there and play. It worked out for me.”

It worked out for him Friday in Lincoln Nebraska, where he provided 10 minutes of scintillating play, albeit in a preseason capacity. He was on the run, driving to the basket as opposed to settling for jumpshots, which he only did once.

Being a little lighter at 203 pounds as opposed to 212, he feels his body is able to get there quicker and avoid direct contact that wears on the body over time.

“Same weight I was when I won MVP (2010-11),” Rose said. “So feel a lit bit more lighter, and who knows? The way I was able to drive the ball [Friday], it felt good driving, and like I said, it boosted my confidence a little bit.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

When he was told Hoiberg announced to the media he was starting, he smiled like a kid who’d never been amongst the first five. As he stated before about the injury, “at least it’s not my legs”, referring to three knee surgeries he’s had since the 2012 playoffs.

“I’m very excited, very excited as far as what I just went through with surgery, and just how much I miss the game,” Rose said. “My appreciation for the game just grew. My faith grew, as far as all this is out of my hands. I can’t control this. I just got to go along and take the good with the bad.”

Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

lebronheat.png
AP

Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

The Bulls couldn't have known it at the time, but when LeBron James blocked a Derrick Rose 3-point attempt in the final seconds of Game 5 in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, it was the closest those Bulls would ever get to the promised land.

It happened on May 26, 2011, seven long, long, long years ago today.

The game was an ugly one and certainly a fourth quarter the Bulls would love to have back. They took a 12-point lead on a Ronnie Brewer 3-pointer with 3:53 remaining. The Heat closed the game on a 19-4 run, with James' emphatic block on Rose the lasting image of the series.

James finished with a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds, and added six assists, three steals and two blocks in 46 minutes.

Rose went just 9-for-29, finishing the series shooting 35 percent from the field after being named league MVP over James.

It's probably unfair to say James and James alone shut the Bulls' championship window. Rose's ACL tear the following postseason realistically was the biggest culprit. But these Bulls had won 62 games, had homecourt advantage, had the MVP, the Coach of the Year and all the momentum. And still they couldn't get it done against James.

That win also sent James to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007. He's been there every year since, though that could change as he faces the Celtics on Sunday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.

Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.

"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"

Paxson scored 10 of 12 points for the Bulls during a fourth quarter run in Game 5 of the 1991 NBA Finals, the series clincher, and famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch that series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.

"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"

Watch the video above to see the interaction.

Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.