Bulls

Rose scores 34 as Bulls topple Bucks

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Rose scores 34 as Bulls topple Bucks

Updated: Friday, Jan. 27 at 11:10 p.m.

By Christopher Cason
CSNChicago.com

After feeling disrespected by the Indiana Pacers celebration in a loss that snapped their eight-game home winning streak on Wednesday, the Bulls were anxious to get back on the floor and hold down their homecourt.

They did exactly that, defeating the Milwaukee Bucks 107-100.

We always say no two losses in a row, said Derrick Rose. Thats been helping us as far as when we lose a game, guys are amped up to go out there and play again. You can tell when we practice, everyone is just focused in.

The short-handed Bulls were without Richard Hamilton, who was a late scratch from the contest due to what the team is calling a right thigh bruise he suffered in Wednesdays loss. His status is day-to-day.

Derrick Rose -- playing through a left big toe injury, himself -- led the team with a season-high 34 points.

I thought he was very aggressive, said Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau. I thought that set the tone for us. Hes feeling a lot better, he was in attack mode and that got us going.

Thibodeau also offered praise for Carlos Boozer, who contributed 20 points, 13 rebounds, and Joakim Noah who finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds (8 offensive).

The Bulls dominated the Bucks inside with a 56-40 scoring edge in the paint.

The first half was fueled by the one-on-one duel between Rose and Milwaukees Brandon Jennings (25 points) as the point guard pair combined for 35 points, with the Bulls leading 51-50 at intermission.

Jennings came out on fire in the first quarter, scoring 16 of those points.

The Bulls opened the third quarter on a 16-4 run and outscored Milwaukee 28-18 in the period for a 79-68 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

With the help of some poor defensive rotations, the Bucks would get Chicagos lead down to 105-100 after a Jennings jumper with 27 seconds remaining but that would be as close as they would get.

The Bulls will practice on Saturday in anticipation of their matchup with the Miami Heat on Sunday. It's the first time the two teams will play since their five-game Eastern Conference Finals showdown.

While most of the Bulls played coy and followed their 'one-game-at-a-time' approach, with a nine-game road trip ahead of them, the rematch with Miami wont be an ordinary one.

Its definitely not another game, said Noah. Its definitely not another game. Its just not another game. Thats really all I have to say about that.

NOTES

Taj Gibson made his return from a three-game absence, finishing with two points, four rebounds and two blocks in 15 minutes of action.

He was very good, said Thibodeau. First time back, moved his feet well. I thought his energy was good.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Reaction to Kris Dunn's knee injury and where Bulls go from here

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Reaction to Kris Dunn's knee injury and where Bulls go from here

Kelly Crull, Mark Strotman and Will Perdue react to the news that Kris Dunn will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a knee injury.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: 

Kris Dunn to miss 4 to 6 weeks with MCL sprain

Kris Dunn to miss 4 to 6 weeks with MCL sprain

The hits keep coming for the Bulls, and after the latest one it might be time to fire up the 2019 mock drafts.

Fred Hoiberg revealed Tuesday before practice that point guard Kris Dunn suffered a moderate sprain of his left MCL in Monday’s loss to the Mavericks and will miss the next 4 to 6 weeks.

“To have him out of the lineup for an extended period, it’s extremely difficult,” Hoiberg said. “When you have a guy who is out there and really made strides over the course of last season and the summer he had and the way he played during training camp, it’s difficult to miss him.”

It’s yet another freak injury for Dunn, who suffered the injury midway through the second quarter while landing after a layup over DeAndre Jordan. Last year Dunn suffered a dislocated finger in the preseason and then suffered a concussion that cost him 11 games. A toe injury then ended his season as the tanking Bulls shut him down for the final 14 games.

But Dunn was expected to play a significant role in Year 2 of the Bulls’ rebuild. As well as leading the team in assists and being the most sure-handed closer, Dunn’s defensive prowess was going to help a Bulls team that finished 29th in efficiency and lost David Nwaba, perhaps their second best defender, in the offseason.

Even prior to Dunn’s injury the Bulls had been addressing the position behind him, claiming Tyler Ulis off waivers on Oct. 14 and signing Shaq Harrison on Sunday. They opted to keep Ryan Arcidiacono on the final roster and will now rely on some combination of those three behind Cam Payne, who tied a career high with 17 points on Saturday against the Pistons.

That’s why Dunn’s injury could affect the team more than Lauri Markkanen’s or Denzel Valentine’s. The Bulls were able to cover up Markkanen’s absence with Bobby Portis and free agent acquisition Jabari Parker, while they invested a first-round pick in wing Chandler Hutchison and guaranteed Antonio Blakeney’s contract over the summer.

There’s quantity on the Bulls’ depth chart behind Dunn, but quality is another story.

“Cam had his best game of maybe his career a couple games ago against Detroit,” Hoiberg said. “He has some things he can build on. The biggest thing at that position is you have to get us organized at both ends of the floor. That’s where Kris had taken a big step in the right direction with that. Arcidiacono is one of the better communicators and hardest-playing guys on our team. We’ve got guys who have some starting experience. It’s big shoes to fill. But I’m confident our guys will give great effort.”

It could mean more ball-handling responsibilities for Zach LaVine, who has been a terror in pick-and-roll sets three games into the season. Though he’s only averaged 2.7 assists, the Bulls offense has been humming, with his 32.3 points per game leading the way. Using LaVine as a primary ball handler could allow Hoiberg to run a point guard-less offense and mix and match the other backcourt position.

They’ll have to do it on the fly. The group of point guards the Bulls will face in the next 11 days include Kemba Walker (Charlotte) twice, Trae Young (Atlanta), Steph Curry (Golden State), Jamal Murray (Denver), Darren Collison (Indiana) and James Harden (Houston). It could get a lot worse for the Bulls before it gets any better, and with Markkanen, Valentine and now Dunn on the mend. 

For those looking into such things three games into the season, the Bulls are currently tied with the Thunder, Cavaliers and Lakers for the worst record in the league. The NBA changed its Lottery rules for this upcoming season, with the three worst teams in the league all sharing the same odds at receiving the top pick in the draft.