Derrick Rose shrugs off technical foul, hard fall in Bulls win


Derrick Rose shrugs off technical foul, hard fall in Bulls win

Derrick Rose walked with a slight limp through the Bulls’ locker room to meet with media, after a night that could be best described as “peculiar.”

He hit the floor early in the game while taking a charge on James Harden and appeared to bruise his tailbone in the process. At times it seemed to bother him, as he went to the locker room late in the first quarter but played through it, although the Bulls wanted to sit him late until Jimmy Butler fouled out with under three minutes remaining.

“He tightened up in his tailbone,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He battled his way through the end. We were hoping to rest him but when Jimmy fouled out they started making a run. We put him back in there and everyone responded.”

But nobody bothered him more than fellow Chicagoan Patrick Beverley, a man who makes a living of getting underneath opponents’ skin. He picked Rose’s pocket for a layup in the second quarter, and the two were playfully jawing at each other shortly thereafter.

Apparently the officials didn’t get the notice that competitive banter is OK in this league, so they were hit with double technical fouls, much to everyone’s chagrin.

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Rose actually laughed at it while it was being announced, considering the two are good friends and talk frequently, and Beverley even stays at Rose’s house during the summers when they work out.

“The league is not, I guess, used to that,” Rose said. “It wasn’t like we were cursing or yelling at each other or anything. Pat, he lived in my house a little bit in the summer. It’s nothing like that. We’ve been playing against each other since Marshall (high school, where Beverley attended). The rivalry goes back to high school, it’s just fun while we’re out there.”

It’s not usual to see Rose engage in any kind of trash talk, as he communicates to his teammates and sometimes to the officials when he gets knocked around without the reward of a whistle, so perhaps the refs wanted to keep the nationally-televised game above board and under control, not knowing the background.

“It’s funny,” Rose said. “It wasn’t like we were cursing at one another or saying foul stuff to one another. It’s basketball, I think, the league isn’t used to that.”

While that part about the league not being used to that nowadays, one thing Rose isn’t used to is having both Butler and Mike Dunleavy alongside him on the wings, as Saturday marked the first time those three played together this season.

Dunleavy was able to cut to the basket and spot up, while Butler’s return from a left knee strain presented another option as a shot creator and maker on the perimeter. Rose’s numbers was a mixed bag in the not-so-new but new setup, scoring 17 with nine assists on six of 10 shooting in 29 minutes with six turnovers against a super-aggressive Rockets defense—spearheaded by a pitbull at point guard named Beverley.

“They pressured the ball great,” said Rose, as the Bulls had 26 turnovers overall, leading to 25 Rockets’ points. “We gotta make simple plays. We tried to hit a home run with every one of our plays but the simple plays, getting out of the double team and go from there.”

[SHOP: Gear up for the stretch run, Bulls fans!]

And as everyone in Chicago held their breath when Rose took his awkward fall, as it would seem appropriate to get two big pieces back only to lose the piece the franchise is used to being without, Rose was undaunted about the thought of missing Monday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks due to the fall.

“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m sure. I’m fine.”

'Underdog' Tyler Ulis will fit in just fine with these Bulls

'Underdog' Tyler Ulis will fit in just fine with these Bulls

It's been a whirlwind of a summer for point guard Tyler Ulis, but he finally feels like he's found a home. Literally.

The 5-foot-9 point guard was cut by the Suns in late June, latched on with a training camp invite by the Warriors and was subsequently waived on Friday. It was then that Ulis, working out in California, received a call from his agent. He had been claimed on waivers by the Chicago Bulls. His hometown Bulls.

"I grew up watching (the Bulls)," he said after his first practice on Tuesday. "Growing up in this city, you always want to be a Bull and you’re always willing and hoping that you’ll be here one day...I'm home now. It's a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to it."

Ulis is back in Chicago for the first time since he was breaking records for Marian Catholic High School. Ulis became a five-star recruit for the Spartans and in 2014 signed on as the next point guard in the long line of successful floor generals under John Calipari and Kentucky.

Ulis backed up the Harrison twins, Andrew and Aaron, as a freshman but saw his role increase as a sophomore. He blossomed, earning Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors in the SEC. Only Anthony Davis had ever earned both honors in a single season.

He declared for the 2016 NBA Draft with hopes of becoming a first-round pick. But unlike the Calipari point guards before him, Ulis slipped all the way down to the second round before the Phoenix Suns scooped him up with the 34th pick.

"Honestly I really did think (the Bulls) were going to draft me," Ulis said on Tuesday when recalling the 2016 NBA Draft. The Bulls took Denzel Valentine with the 14th pick. "But I'm here now so that's all that matters."

In 132 games, Ulis averaged 7.6 points and 4.1 assists in 21.1 minutes. He started 58 of those games, and while his shooting left plenty to be desired he handled the offense well and brought that same pesky defense he showed off at Kentucky. It wasn't enough, even for the guard-deprived Suns. They released Ulis before free agency this summer - which ruffled the feathers of franchise guard Devin Booker - in a rather unexpected move.

"My Mom always taught me (to) never expect anything," Ulis said of his release from the Suns. "When you're on a losing team like that anything can happen. I feel like I showed I could play at this level but they went a different way."

The Suns' loss - they may resort to starting 38-year-old Jamal Crawford at point guard this year - could be the Bulls' gain. Expectations should be harnessed for Ulis, especially with him joining the roster this late in the preseason, but the Bulls, like Phoenix, have question marks at the point.

Kris Dunn is entrenched as the starter, but Cameron Payne struggled mightily in the preseason and Ryan Arcidiacono doesn't project as a contributor. That leaves an opening for Ulis to potentially fill on the second unit, and apparently he's making a statement early in practice.

"Tyler had a real good practice," Fred Hoiberg said. "I think I think he changes the pace when he’s out there on the floor. He picks up full-court, he gets up underneath you. He can make a shot. He’s got good vision and can make a play with the ball in his hand. So I was very impressed with his first workout."

Ulis is working on a 45-day two-way contract, so it's unknown how much he'll contribute. He could be shuttled back and forth between Chicago and the Windy City Bulls, but there's certainly an opportunity for him to stick. He'll be playing catch-up and learning on the go, but doing so in his hometown wth friends and family around him for support will work to his advantage.

"Being a smaller guard growing up in a big man’s sport, you get looked over. So I’m the underdog," he said. "And I feel like this team is an underdog, so we should all be excited to get the season started and prove people wrong."

Bulls, Bobby Portis value each other greatly despite no deal getting done


Bulls, Bobby Portis value each other greatly despite no deal getting done

Monday's deadline came and went with expected results: Bobby Portis and the Bulls being unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension.

Some 19 hours later all parties involved said the right things, that they value one another and hope to be working together long-term.

But all that will be shelved until July 1, when Portis enters restricted free agency at this coming season's end. The two sides found themselves in position to wait out on an extension.

For Portis, he's improved his game each of his first three seasons in the league posted per-36 numbers on par with some of the game's best big men. Expected to start while Lauri Markkanen recovers from a sprained elbow - and then act as the team's Sixth Man after that - Portis is in line to post career numbers once again.

For the Bulls, nearly all their front office decisions the past three seasons have been with an eye toward the 2019 offseason and having as much cap space as possible. Waiting on a Portis contract allows them to see if any of the top free agents in the class are interested in Chicago, while also having the ability to match any deal Portis gets on the open market.

It's similar to how the Bulls played out the rookie scale contracts of both Jimmy Butler and Zach LaVine.

John Paxson spoke during Tuesday's practice at the Advocate Center and reiterated how much the Bulls value Portis and the work he's put in since they drafted him 22nd overall in 2015.

Portis also spoke with reporters after practice. And what would normally be considered posturing from any other player, Portis' blue-collar mentality was present in his comments.

"I couldn’t see myself in no other jersey. Obviously, I got Bulls DNA," he said. "Me and the city have a love connection somewhere. At the same time, I just enjoy playing for the Bulls.

"I play this game because I love it. Obviously, you want to make as much money as possible to help your family. But I started playing basketball because it’s fun to me and I loved it. I still have that same passion, that same heart every night I go out there."

Still, the opportunity will be there for Portis to make himself significant money in the coming six months. After averaging a modest 13.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in Year 3, Portis will be called upon to shoulder a scoring load in the absence of Markkanen. And with Jabari Parker's Bulls career off to a shaky start, Portis will be the go-to guy on the second unit once Markkanen is back in the lineup.

"Bobby is a guy that is very confident in himself. He’s confident in his ability. That’s what we love about him," Fred Hoiberg said. "And like I said, he’s going to go out there and play the same way every time he steps on the floor, whether it’s practice, whether it’s a pick-up game in the summer or once we get started on Thursday. He’s a warrior, and he’s just going to go out there and play the right way with great effort.’’

The Bulls will need that with the start of the regular season just two days away. They open on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers, a team that went 30-11 at home last season.

Portis will play a significant role in slowing down one of the NBA's best frontcourts. Whether or not this is his last season doing so in Chicago, he knows what the Bulls think of him and won't let the impending negotiations distract him.

"I know how much I’m valued. They tell me a lot. Give it all I got. Kind of the leader of the bunch. Blue-collar worker," he said. "Everybody respects me because I come in every day with a chip on my shoulder, try to push my guys to get better each day. That makes me go."