There’s not much to say about this one. The game itself anyway.
The Bulls continue to beat the stuffing out of bad teams. The Nets (8-18 overall and 3-8 at home) were bad to begin with. To make matters worse, they were without Brook Lopez, Damion James, Mehmet Okur, MarShon Brooks and DeShawn Stevenson due to various injuries, and Anthony Morrow missed the game due to the death of his grandmother.
As a result, New Jersey dressed only nine players and trotted out a starting lineup of Deron Williams, Kris Humpries, Shawnee Williams, Shelden Williams and our old friend Keith Bogans. Not surprisingly, the Bulls were up 35-14 after the first quarter, by which point the proceedings were pretty much over. The rest of the game was played only because David Stern has yet to institute a slaughter rule.
The Bulls shot 55.6 percent, racked up 29 assists, and led by as many as 32 points.
Carlos Boozer led the team in scoring (24 points on 9-for-13 shooting) while chipping in 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Luol Deng (19 points) continues to shoot so well (8-for-14 including 3-for-5 on threes) that I half-wondered if I just dreamed up his wrist injury. Joakim Noah grabbed 12 boards and dished out 5 assists, Ronnie Brewer scored a dozen points and C.J. Watson came off the bench to contribute 14 points and 11 assists in 39 minutes.
Why did C.J. log so much PT? Because Derrick Rose played less then 11 minutes before leaving the game with back spasms.
The big question: How serious is Derrick’s back injury?
Said Rose: “I feel all right, just back spasm. It’s nothing to worry about. Tomorrow we have a day off and I’ll get treatment,” Rose said. “I’ll get a massage and hopefully I can play the next game.”
Now, I’m not a professional basketball player. I don’t have a team doctor, or trainers, or a personal massage therapist. But I play pickup ball two or three days a week and I occasionally get back spasms. They aren’t dangerous in the way, say, a knee or ligament injury are. But they’re still debilitating. One time last year, on the way from the train station to my office building, it took me more than 10 minutes to make it two blocks. And that was walking like an old man who had been beaten with a stick. I couldn’t even stand up straight.
I can’t imagine trying to play NBA basketball like that.
The only real cure for something like back spams is rest. Something in there needs to heal. Could take a few days. Could take a week. Could take a couple weeks. Who knows?
The Bulls may be able to afford giving Rose a little time off. They’re a league-best 21-6, they’re 4-2 on their current nine-game road trip, and their next two games are against awful teams (the Hornets on Wednesday and the Bobcats on Friday). The team could probably let him rest and rehab until the final game of the road trip on Sunday in Boston.
But hey, I’m not the one making decisions.
All I know is that the post-lockout schedule has sent the league’s injury rate through the roof. New York’s Carmelo Anthony and the Clippers’ Chauncey both got injured last night. And, as I mentioned, almost half of New Jersey’s roster missed the game due to injury. Rip Hamilton’s still out and there’s no indication whatsoever when he’ll return. So on and so forth.
All I’m saying is: Why risk Rose’s health against the Hornets and Bobcats?
As an aside, I’m really glad the Bulls are playing so well, but I’m hoping to see them put together a solid effort against one of the league’s better teams some time soon. They currently rank 25th in strength of schedule, and I keep having this uncomfortable feeling like they’re padding their record against lesser teams. The Celtics have been on something of a hot streak lately, so that Sunday game could be a good test of where the Bulls are at.
Hopefully, Derrick’s back is feeling better by then.
The New Jersey crowd went nuts for the White Mamba! Brian Scalabrine gets cheers pretty much everywhere. Last night was special, because he spent four years on the Nets.
Said Kyle Korver: “So there’s three incredibly loud cheers every game that you can count on. The first one is when the doughnut races the coffee races the bagel and everyone swears they pick the coffee. The reality is not everyone picked the coffee, but everyone cheers like they picked the coffee. Two is when we score 100 points and everyone gets a free Big Mac or whatever they get. And three is when Scalabrine comes in the game. Guarantee, every single game, the crowd goes nuts no matter where we’re at.”