I’m not quite sure what to say about this loss. For all intents and purposes, the game ended two minutes and 24 seconds into the first quarter. That’s when Derrick Rose drove the basket, elevated, ran into Orlando’s Dwight Howard, and fell. Hard.
Probably not the way Derrick wanted to celebrate his selection to the USA National Team program.
Amazingly, Rose hit the layup. But he also bruised his right hip and — after hitting the free throw to complete his “And-1!” — had to leave the game. Rose didn’t play again that night. For that matter, neither did the rest of the Bulls.
Mind you, Chicago was coming off a fourth-quarter comeback against the Pacers in Indianapolis the night before. The Bulls tend not to play very well on the second night of back-to-backs, and they looked a little flat even before Rose was injured. So yes, they very well might have lost anyway. But it might not have been quite so ugly.
The Magic were leading 9-6 when Rose hobbled back to the Chicago locker room. By the end of the first 12 minutes, Orlando was ahead 41-17 and the game was pretty much over. The Bulls might have gone ahead and just conceded the loss, but David Stern is a stickler for teams playing all four quarters. Too bad for the Bulls. And their fans.
Luol Deng (23 points, 8-for-14, 7 rebounds) had a strong game, and Tyrus Thomas (16 points, 7-for-12, 6 boards, 4 assists, 2 steals anda block) had a solid all-around game off the bench. But everybody else was terrible. Brad Miller had 2 points on 1-for-7 shooting and one measly rebound in 25 minutes of “action.” Taj Gibson — who, like Joakim Noah, is suffering from plantar fasciitis — went 0-for-5 and finished with zero points in 17 minutes. Kirk Hinrich was 4-for-11, Jannero Pargo 3-for-11, Devin Brown 1-for-7, etc.
Chicago ended up shooting 36.8 percent as a team and getting outrebounded 51-41. They Bulls also gave up a whopping 20 points off only 13 turnovers. Meanwhile, Orlando committed 17 turnovers but gave up only nine points off of their miscues.
But, like I said, the Bulls pretty much gave up after Rose was hurt.
As a fan, watching your team’s star player go down in a heap is a terrifying moment. The rest of the season flashes before your eyes. Before you find out how badly they’re actually hurt, before they even get peeled up off the floor, you start calculating how long they’re going to be out, how far the team might fall out of playoff contention while they’re out, and whether the season may have ended at that very moment. Heck, you might even start thinking about the NBA Draft lottery. Is it an overreaction? Of course. But fear can make you think funny things. Crazy things.
Anyway…regarding Derrick’s injury, Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said: “A hip contusion, they called it — or a tailbone contusion. I saw him at halftime and it just was real sore. The MRI was more precautionary, I think, than anything, so we’ll see. But I think he’ll be fine.”
As for whether he’ll play in the All-Star game, Vinny added: “It depends what the doctors say. And it depends how he feels. Usually guys don’t play that many minutes at the All -tar Game anyway, but let’s just see how things progress over the next couple days before we get there.”
Bulls Head Athletic Trainer Fred Tedeschi also discussed Derrick’s injury and treatment: “He had X-rays here at the United Center and was examined by our doctors from Rush and he was pretty sore and stiff [and] couldn’t finish the game. So, given what’s coming up this weekend we decided to get an MRI on him andhe’s over at Rush Medical Center getting that right now. We won’t know the results until later on tonight. Anything beyond that we don’t know. We’re just getting a precautionary MRI.
“The x-rays so far were negative. I’m not sure we’ve completely ruled out a fracture, but it looks unlikely at this point.”
As for Howard, the guy who took Rose down, he claimed he was just protecting his own basket and, well, things happened. Said Howard: “He hit the ‘Man of Steel.”
Howardadded: “It feels bad. But in the game of basketball there are hard fouls. There are times when people hit the ground pretty hard. Andthere’s always a risk of any kind of injury. Hopefully he’s OK. It was never my intention to hurt him, or anybody when we’re playing basketball. But it’s my job to protect the basket.”
So we don’t know yet how badly Rose is hurt, nor whether he’ll be able to defend his Skills Challenge crown or compete in the All-Star game. And the Bulls head into the All-Star break with a record of 25-26, one game below .500. Which, after everything they’ve gone through in the first half of the season, isn’t all bad. But 26-25 would have felt an awful lot better.
1st timeout: Called after Rose’s hard fall (1-for-1)
2nd timeout: Luol Deng turnover (Rashard Lewis steal)
3rd timeout: Orlando possession (Marcin Gortat missed hook shot)
4th timeout: Orlando possession (Matt Barnes hits two free throws)
5th timeout: James Johnson hook shot
Strange night. Strange timeouts.