Bulls

Derrick Rose injures knee in Bulls loss to Bucks

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Derrick Rose injures knee in Bulls loss to Bucks

MILWAUKEE-- A few days ago, the Bulls’ biggest problem was they weren’t the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Twenty-four hours ago, the Bulls’ biggest problem was their lack of communication and subsequent slippage on defense, worrying about two straight losses turning to three.

After Tuesday, though, their biggest problem has become the health of Derrick Rose, who could only manage a few possessions into the second half of their 106-101 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, as he exited with left patella tendinitis.

Rose played 21 minutes and had a good start before missing a few layups in the second quarter, finishing with nine points and three assists, but appeared to get his left knee worked on by trainer Jeff Tanaka at the half.

“I felt something with my left knee, like jumper’s knee or something,” Rose said afterward. “Just didn’t feel right when I was out there. Just gotta be cautious with my body.”

Rose missed three games recently with a hamstring injury but emerged to continue some of his best basketball of the season in the games he did participate in, before Tuesday’s apparent setback. He admitted some frustration with the injury, although he said he doesn’t believe he’ll miss any time.

[WATCH: Catch a full replay of tonight's game right here]

“Yeah, when you wanna continue to play and play consistent games,” Rose said. “The reality is, I felt something and all I can do is pay attention to it and listen to my body.”

At the start of the fourth quarter, Rose began riding a stationary bike on the sidelines near the Bulls’ bench and returned with 5:49 left but couldn’t move with any fluidity, removing himself with 3:25 left and the game tied at 93.

“It just felt weird out there,” Rose said. “It didn’t loosen up, tried to get out there a second time, still didn’t do anything. Really wasn’t any need for me to be in the game like that. Wasn’t able to move around like I wanted to.”

The Bulls seemed intent on ending their short losing streak to start things, but the inconsistency caught up with them, highlighted by Rose’s injury.

As the Bulls’ lead dwindled to start the third, Rose hobbled to the bench and tried walking off the injury on the sidelines as Fred Hoiberg called timeout to stop the bleeding.

The problems snowballed from there, as the Bucks’ speed took full advantage of the Bulls’ carelessness, forcing three turnovers in a 40-second span.

After falling behind by nine, the Bulls actually came back to take a five-point lead behind contributions from Nikola Mirotic and surprisingly, Tony Snell, who scored 17.

But they could only hold off the Bucks for so long, and it led to their demise.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

“I thought our energy out of the gate was great,” Hoiberg said. “Then coming out in the third, we let them back in it. They got a big lead on us and we fought back. We talk about the consistency, that’s what we gotta do.”

Greg Monroe gave the Bucks a one-point lead with a 3-point play and Khris Middleton followed it right up with a corner triple of his own, giving the Bucks a 99-95 lead. After a Jimmy Butler turnover, his fourth of the night and 17th for the Bulls, their offense seemed to continue trending downward as it had done from the first quarter on, noticeably with Rose on the bench.

“We turned the ball over, they got in the open floor and got a lot of easy baskets,” Butler said. “Trying to thread the needle (on passes), especially me. Trying to do too much instead of making the simple play.”

Butler missed the front end of three free throws with the Bulls trailing by four, and had a front row seat when Middleton, a swingman who’s been on fire recently, nailed a turnaround jumper with 16.7 seconds left to make it a two-possession game

[WATCH: Rose discusses knee injury in Tuesday's loss]

It didn’t matter they outrebounded the Bucks by a sizeable margin (57-40), considering the Bucks only turned the ball over five times and their long-armed athletic wingman Giannis Antetokounmpo gave the Bulls fits all over the floor, forcing turnovers and scoring in transition. The third year forward led the Bucks with 27 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in 32 minutes. Middelton scored 16 with nine assists and six rebounds while Monroe scored 15 with 11 rebounds.

Butler led the Bulls with 30, eight rebounds and six assists, but he left more than a few plays on the board when it counted most.

And now the Bulls are left wondering about their point guard’s immediate future.

We've officially found the biggest Michael Jordan fan ever

We've officially found the biggest Michael Jordan fan ever

There are diehard Michael Jordan fans.

And then there's this guy.

Forget anybody getting a tattoo of their favorite team's championship trophy. Forget the people who wait for hours in terrible weather just to catch a glimpse of their favorite player.

This dude has a constant, 24/7 reminder of "His Airness":

Yep, that is a full tattoo of a Jordan "23" jersey on his back, complete with a Michael Jordan "autograph" in the middle of the "2." 

Dedication at its finest.

Couple questions: 

A) Does it carry over to the front at all? And if not, is that a plan for the future?

2) Will one of his buddies get a "45" Jordan jersey tattoo or are we just gonna continue to pretend that era never happened?

D) What will that tat look like in a few years? That guy better stay away from the Doritos...

Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of centers to begin career

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AP

Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of centers to begin career

Don't tell Wendell Carter Jr. the center position is a dying breed.

The 19-year-old rookie hasn't exactly been able to ease into the NBA, finding himself up against a handful of All-Stars and powerful frontcourts just five days into his career.

It culminated Monday night with a date against Mavericks center DeAndre Jordan, and once again the seventh overall pick held his own. It was much of the same as it was against Philadelphia's Joel Embiid and Detroit's Andre Drummond last week (and Nikola Jokic in the preseason finale): some good, some bad, plenty of poise and zero backing down. The NBA is unforgiving, but this could very well be the toughest stretch Carter faces all season.

"He’s playing against top level centers now," Fred Hoiberg said before Monday's game. "It’s a great experience for him. He’s going to learn and get better and he plays within himself, we will continue to look for him to be more aggressive."

He was as aggressive as the Bulls have seen him against Jordan and the Mavericks. He blew by the 20 and 18 minutes he played in the first two games of the year, totalling 32 minutes. His final line won't tell the story - 4 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and a block - of a Carter who defended well at the rim, picking and choosing his spots on when to attack shots and when to simply use his verticality.

He wasn't credited for a block but he contested a Jordan dunk that turned into a Bobby Portis dunk on the other end. Plus-minus isn't always a good indicator of a player's worth, but Carter was a +5 in a 14-point Bulls loss. He even attempted a corner 3-pointer early in the shot clock, showing no hesitation. Carter's had his moments, but it's also apparent he's got a 19-year-old body going up against veterans each night. That'll come with time in the weight room. For now the experience is 

"I appreciate the fact I’m able to play against these very talented bigs early in my career," Carter said after the loss to the Pistons. "What I need to work on is I have to get stronger; that’s the first thing I recognize; just being up against the best. I love the competition. It’s always a great feeling going against the best."

What the Bulls are finding out is they have a player mature beyond his years. As he progresses he'll continue to get more difficult assignments. He had his rookie moment late in Monday's loss, committing a turnover in the backcourt after the Bulls had cut the deficit to five with 35 seconds left. The fouls are also an issue, as Carter has committed 10 in three games (after committing 17 in five preseason games).

That doesn't necessarily seem important for a Lottery-bound team, but considering the continued struggles of Robin Lopez (and Cristiano Felicio is entirely out of the rotation) it is. Lopez had 2 points and 1 rebound in 10 minutes while committing five personal fouls. In three games he has 11 personal fouls and 11 points, and also has more turnovers (five) than rebounds (four). If the Bulls are going to compete until Lauri Markkanen returns, Carter will need to hover around the 32 minutes he played Monday.

He'll get a much easier test on Wednesday when the Charlotte Hornets arrive in town. Cody Zeller doesn't exactly have the credentials of a Jokic or Embiid, meaning Carter may have a little more room to work. 

The Bulls know they have something in Carter. It'll be abother month until they can deploy him alongside Markkanen, but if the first three games are any indication, Carter won't have any problems matching up with some of the league's best.