Ailing Rose a game-time decision vs. Cavs

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Ailing Rose a game-time decision vs. Cavs

CLEVELANDGiven his competitive nature, to rule him out right now would be premature. But it seems unlikely that Derrick Rose will return to the Bulls lineup Friday to face the Cavaliers.

The swelling went down. The pain is there a little bit, but its a game-time decision. I definitely want to be out there to play, especially today, Rose said at the teams morning shootaround at Quicken Loans Arena. But Ive got to make the smartest decision, not only for me, but for my teammates.

Knowing that right when it starts feeling good, it could go right back to zero, he continued. Ill go out there, see how it goes and if its not working, Ive got to sit out.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was cautious in his appraisal of his point guards health status.

Well see. He was feeling better yesterday. Hes feeling a little better today. Thatll be a game-time decision. Well see when he warms up tonight how hes feeling, said Thibodeau, who noted that Rose has had five days of rest and treatment. I dont think anyone can say how he feels. He has to say how he feels. So, if hes feeling good, then he plays. If hes not, then he wont.

I dont want him to go through the shootaround, he added. Just to be locked in mentally. Maybe do some stretching, but thatll be about it.

Rose admitted that his turf-toe injury is causing him pain and revealed its similar to the ailment he suffered in his second season.

Its exactly what it is. I wasnt able to be on my toe in three years, so when that happened, it bent it and it aggravated it, and I played on it sooner than when I was supposed to play on it and it was real bad, he said. This is kind of worse than my second season. My second season, I just played through it, but it wasnt that bad and not being able to be on my toe in three years, and someone put all their weight on my toe, it definitely hurt it.

The leagues reigning MVP, who said hell attempt to warm up prior to Friday evenings contest against the Central Division rival Cavaliers, acknowledged that playing after the initial injury may have been a rash decision.

A little regret, but it just comes with basketball, he said. Injuries are going to happen. Thats why I always get treatment and I always see my trainer.

The former No. 1 overall draft pick expressed disappointment that he might not be able to match up with Cavaliers rookie point guard Kyrie Irving, the top selection in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Somebody that Id love to play tonight. Hes a great player, even at a young age. You can tell that he knows a lot about the game. A skilled player. Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott is letting him do a great job of playing through his mistakes and I know he wont do anything but get better, Rose gushed. Hes kind of got like a smooth game. Smooth game, good passer, basketball I.Q. is very high. Im a fan of him, especially when he was at Duke.

Thibodeau shared similar sentiments about Irving, who along with fellow first-round pick Tristan Thompson, an athletic power forward out of Texas, have led Cleveland to a surprisingly competitive early-season start.

The thing thats probably stood out more than anything is the way hes been shooting the ball and the poise in which hes playing. Hes stopping behind the screen, shooting the ball, pulling up for the three. Shooting 38 percent from three is very impressive. He plays very, very hard and hes showing poise for a rookie, said Thibodeau. Well, a player that talented, youre never surprised, but what hes done thus far, hes playing almost like a veteran. You can tell hes fearless and I love his demeanor on the floor. You watch and you just see its a guy that has a lot of confidence. Hes doing a great job with their team.

Thompson has been phenomenal. High energy and you cant make mistakes with him. Body-position mistakes, hell make you pay, so hes been very impressive, as well, as has their team, he went on to say. Theyve had a tough early schedule with a lot of road games. I think theyve played very well in those games, but theyre hard-playing, theyre playing unselfish. I think Byrons done a great job with them.

Regardless of whether Rose plays or not, Thibodeau is more concerned about the challenge the Cavs present in the Bulls 11th road game of the young, condensed NBA campaign. In his typical fashion, the coach flipped the pretense of his squads travel-heavy slate into a positive.

Well, the thing that I did like was to be on the road early like we have been has given us an opportunity to spend some time together, which I think is good and I think it gets you ready because you have to be ready to play, so from that standpoint its been good, he said. I would have liked to have had more practice time, but thats the way it is and even in a normal NBA season, thats the way it is. Theres always a point every season where you may have an extended road trip or a lot of back-to-back games, so your practice time is limited and you have to make the most of your film session, you walkthroughs in the ballroom, things like that.

I like the way our team has responded, but you have to be ready tonight. You cant look behind, you cant look ahead. Just concentrate on whats in front of you.

After loss to Mavs, Wade says Bulls 'keep putting (their) hand on the hot stove every day'

After loss to Mavs, Wade says Bulls 'keep putting (their) hand on the hot stove every day'

Dwyane Wade sounded every bit like a frustrated 35-year old father when talking about the repeated ills and so-called growing pains of his Bulls, as they surrendered yet another game against a sub-.500 team.

Sometimes it's the New York Knicks whom the Bulls are offering temporary refuge. Or maybe the Minnesota Timberwolves as they are all-too-generous to roll out the welcome mat for returning figures to Chicago.

Tuesday it was the Dallas Mavericks, the second-worst team in the Western Conference, who stormed into the United Center and escaped with a 99-98 win, courtesy of Wesley Matthews' triple with 11.7 seconds left followed by him locking down Jimmy Butler on the ensuing possession.

Wade was forced to take a contested 21-footer that went awry, but the Bulls' ills went far beyond the last two possessions, when the Mavericks exploited their strategy yet again.

"Either you learn the lesson or figure out," Wade said. "Keep putting your hand on the hot stove every day.

"We just gotta figure out not to put our hands on that stove. And understand when we come in the kitchen, that stove is hot, don't touch it. As I continue to say, this is a very young team and they have to play in these games and have to go through these moments. The one thing you want, whether it's this year or next year, is to not make the same mistakes."

The Bulls are apparently insistent on touching the stove and keep burning themselves, the most recent time with the confusion or the bad strategy in defending the Mavericks' final offensive possession.

Deron Williams found himself with Nikola Mirotic defending him off a switch from Jimmy Butler. Not the quickest afoot, Mirotic gave Williams an easy path to the basket and Wade was the backside help, not wanting to leave Matthews on the wing for a triple.

But with the bench commanding Wade to help, Williams easily found Matthews for an open 3 as Wade had no help for his man. With the Bulls up two, one could see how Wade didn't want to leave Matthews.

"I'll have to go back and watch, but it looks like Deron got downcourt, Wade went over to help and we didn’t rotate accordingly," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "We obviously need to do a better job of staying in front of the other end."

Mirotic was supposed to be brought back slowly in his return from strep throat, but he played the entire fourth quarter and 22 minutes overall, having lost eight pounds with his illness that had him miss four games.

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Their issues were game-long and have been seasonlong as the Mavericks were supposed to absorb a shellacking from a Bulls team that felt a 25-point beatdown in Texas last month.

Instead, they would've been happy with settling for an escape when Butler rose up over his college teammate Matthews for a 20-foot wing jumper with 22.8 seconds left.

Butler nearly added a triple-double and clutch moment to his growing resume with 24 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds but was dogged by Matthews all night, the defender who wouldn't give him airspace, went chest-to-chest and even earned a technical foul when he felt Butler exaggerated some contact in the third quarter.

"He took away my space, wouldn't let me get to my spot," Butler said of Matthews. "Good for him. I should've did something different."

Wade missed 13 of his 21 shots, scoring 17 with five rebounds on his 35th birthday

With scoring at a premium, Robin Lopez had a season-high 21 points being guarded by Dirk Nowitzki — and they were necessary considering the Bulls were without Taj Gibson (ankle injury) and Doug McDermott couldn't repeat his 30-point showing from Sunday in Memphis.

Rick Carlisle has long been regarded as one of the top strategic coaches, and though he doesn't have the usual personnel from the Mavericks' salad days, he had enough tricks up his sleeve to throw the Bulls off.

Six Mavericks scored in double figures, led by Harrison Barnes' 20 points and Seth Curry's 18, as Barnes, Matthews and Curry combined for eight triples — spreading the Bulls out and picking them apart defensively.

The Mavericks started Nowitzki at center, going to an almost all-small lineup. And though Lopez scored 14 points in the first half, trying to feed him seemed to take the Bulls out of it in the second half.

The energy was tardy to the party, as they shot just 41 percent in the first half but woke up a little in the third quarter — continuing their all-too familiar trend of half-hearted efforts against lesser teams.

And it looks like the ever-optimistic Wade is dishing out some realism, probably something that comes with the perspective of turning 35.

"You can't keep getting stressed out or frustrated. We've been going through this all year. We'll get back in in the morning.

"Once you realize who you are, you're better off. I sleep better at night. Once we want to be a better team and start winning games, we will. I'm not mad, I'm not frustrated, I'm not stressed. Just taking the hits."

Bulls' Rajon Rondo oddly runs behind back of former coach Rick Carlisle

Bulls' Rajon Rondo oddly runs behind back of former coach Rick Carlisle

Is Rajon Rondo avoiding his former coach?

During Tuesday night's Bulls-Mavericks game, Rondo awkwardly ran behind Mavs coach Rick Carlisle as the third quarter was winding down.

Take a look at the play in the video above.

Rondo, who played with the Mavericks in the 2014-15 season, had a weird relationship with Carlisle. Most notably, he and Carlisle had a heated exchange during a game on Feb. 24, 2015 against the Toronto Raptors. It eventually led to Carlisle saying that Rondo was a bad fit for the Mavericks and that the team should have never traded for him.

On Tuesday, Rondo apparently shook Carlisle's hand before he checked in the game for the first time in the first quarter. 

All is well, it seems, but that was still weird.