( 4UMF NEWS ) Bulls Lose In Derrick Rose’s Return:
As has been the case all season long, three words can describe Derrick Rose’s return to the floor: work in progress.
Rose came back from a 20-game absence Wednesday, scoring nine points and posting two assists in the Chicago Bulls’ 105-103 loss to the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center. The 2011 NBA MVP played 19 minutes, right in line with expectations, and was also expectedly winded and inconsistent at points.
Elfrid Payton (17 Pts, 9 Reb, 9 Ast) spoils Derrick Rose’s return as Magic beat Bulls, 105-103. Rose: 9 points. pic.twitter.com/c7ILnOwgR1
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 9, 2015
Struggling with his jumper, Rose made just one of his six three-point attempts and turned the ball over four times. The Magic outscored the Bulls by three points when he was on the floor, as Chicago’s bench mostly carried its offense.
Taj Gibson, Aaron Brooks and Nikola Mirotic each scored in double figures, leading the charge on a 48-point night from the reserves. Jimmy Butler was tops among starters with 19 points, adding five boards and six assists.
Rose missed more than a month of action after undergoing a meniscectomy in his right knee, his third major knee surgery since 2012. He suffered a torn ACL in the 2012 playoffs that cost him the entire 2012-13 campaign and was limited to 10 games the following season due to a meniscus tear.
“This one is totally different than my last ones. I was only out six weeks,” Rose said, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. “The other ones I was out four or five months. I just have to pace myself this time. I got a lot of confidence in myself. But who knows how many games it’s going to take me (to find rhythm). All I can do is just continue to work on my game and push my teammates for this playoff run.”
It was clear from the opening tip that the team was making a concerted effort to weave him in offensively without much success. Though he played and started 46 games before getting hurt, the same problems from those contests carried over to Wednesday night. Rose, having played with the ball in his hands his entire career, has shown an increased tendency to chuck up bad attempts early in the shot clock—or outright disappear for possessions.
There were also fleeting moments of brilliance, most notably a third-quarter layup where he moved and leaped like his pre-injury self. For the most part, though, the rust was understandably apparent.
The Bulls’ starting lineup as a whole struggled and was downright lost at times in the fourth quarter, where it scored only 16 points to allow Orlando to pull ahead. But for the season, Chicago has only been marginally better with Rose on the floor, per Basketball Reference, a trend that will have to change for this team to make a deep playoff run.
“Whatever it was going to be, we’re going to make the best of those circumstances,’’ Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said, per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “We’re just glad he’s back. So that’s the big thing.”
Chicago has four games remaining in the regular season, though it’s unclear how many of those contests will see Rose suit up. The team is due in Miami for the second of a back-to-back Thursday. Rose and Thibodeau both indicated they were open to him playing, but that will most likely depend on how he’s feeling after traveling.
The Bulls have at least one night off between their final three contests, so odds are Thursday’s tilt would be the last possible game he misses before the playoffs. With postseason basketball putting an end to back-to-backs, the next week will be critical in getting him into game shape and ready to fend off Toronto or Washington, the team’s likely playoff foes.
It might not have been ideal, but Wednesday’s loss in Orlando was an important first step in making that happen.
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