TORONTOFor the fifth consecutive game, Derrick Rose will be a spectator, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau confirmed before Wednesdays game against the Raptors.
Hes out, said Thibodeau of Rose, who has a strained right groin. No running yet. Running in the pool. Hes doing more and more. Hes doing some shooting. Hes in the pool. Hes moving along.
Injuries are part of the game. If someones injured, regardless of where we are, who were playing against, we dont want them to play. We want them to be healthy. If someones hurting and they can play, thats a different story, he said prior to the teams morning shootaround at the Air Canada Centre. The important thing right now is getting better every day and we want him to be completely healthy, and when he is, hes going to play. Somehow this notion that you can miss the entire season and come back in the playoffs, and play well, I havent seen that yet, so I dont know what people are talking about. You have to build the right habits, so you can perform well when it matters most.
Those comments seemed to indirectly mention the other member of the Bulls starting backcourt, Rip Hamilton, but Thibodeau indicated hed remain patient with the veteran shooting guard.
There are certain things you cant control and whatever the circumstances are, were going to deal with it as best as we can., said the coach, who added that he wanted Hamilton to play in as many games as possible before the postseason. Were going to do whats best for our team.
After routing Orlandothe Bulls held the Magic to a franchise record for fewest points allowed to an opponent in a regular-season gameMonday, one might expect Chicago to be feeling good about taking on the inferior Raptors. However, dont expect the Bulls to take their opponent lightly.
They have a lot of weapons. Their wings are real tough, athletic. DeRozans had a terrific year, James Johnsons played very well for them. They have quality depth up front. Aaron Grays a very solid player. If he gets deep post position, he can really hurt you. Amir Johnson and Ed Davis are tough coming off the bench. Linas Kleiza can really spread you out. So, were concerned. Gary Forbes has done a good job when hes played as a backup point. Theyre a team that can score a lot. Weve got to make sure that were ready from the start of the game, Thibodeau noted about the Raptors, who have injured stars Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani back in the lineup. Your point guard and primary scorer. The team is built around those guys. Those guys being out definitely hurt then. Bayless came in and played extremely well when Bayless was out. You cant miss two players like that and not feel it. Theyre a talented team. Now that they have everyone back I think theyre going to be very dangerous.
Thibodeau and his squad are aware that after Mondays victory, Toronto could be a so-called trap game, something theyd like to avoid after a disappointing home loss to Portland after beating Miami last week.
I think our guys have done a good job all year. Theyve been studying. They know that the Raptors have been playing well, said Thibodeau. They were able to win at Memphis and at Cleveland. Thats not easy to do and theyre scoring big points. For them I think Dwane Casey, the Raptors first-year head coach has done a really great job with them. A lot of injuries and now theyre getting guys back, so we know theyre a good team.
Chimed in Ronnie Brewer: Its very tough when you have a great win, to let your guard down and play into the hands of a trap game, but we let a game get away from us against Portland. But Thibs is keeping us on our Ps and Qs, and we know we have to come out with a lot of effort to play well and continue this win streak.
Echoed Joakim Noah: Thats the toughest part, trying to stay focused. We know they have players that are very capable, players that have definitely hurt us in the past, so were just trying to stay focused. Its an important game for us.
For the short-handed Bulls to be at their best, a solid performance from banged-up backup point guard C.J. Watson would help, after the fill-in starter struggled offensively against Orlando in place of Rose.
C.J. Watson, hes played very well for us whenever he has started, so hes been solid, said Thibodeau. I dont necessarily measure him by his shots. I measure him by how hes running the team, how the team is functioning, how hes playing defense. So, he can play well when he doesnt shoot well and hes shown that. Thats what he did in that game and I thought he ran the team well, so he just has to keep doing what hes doing.