Rose getting closer to full-contact in practice


Rose getting closer to full-contact in practice

Jimmy Butler will make his second regular-season NBA start Monday night, as Luol Deng will miss his second consecutive game with a strained right hamstring, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said before his team hosted the Lakers at the United Center.
But Dengs status wasnt the only injury news the coach discussed in his pregame availability. Thibodeau updated the progress of sidelined point guard Derrick Rose, indicating that the former league MVP could begin full-contact practices this week.
Rose is very close. That full-contact practices will be the next step, Thibodeau said with a wry smirk on his face. It could happen this week.
He has to go through that for an extended amount of time. Thats not going to be, Okay, one or two days of contact and hes going to be out there. Thats not going to happen. Everyone has to be patient. Hes doing his part. Hes showing great patience. Everyone else has to, he continued. Hes got to continue to focus on the rehab. Our guys have to focus on their improvement and our opponent, and then when hes ready whenever it is when hes ready, thats when he comes back. Not earlier than hes ready, not later. Its when hes ready and our doctors have been on top of it from Day 1, so everyone just has to show patience.
Hes done great.
Perhaps sensing that the focus of the assembled media had shifted to Rose rather than the matchup with the star-studded Lakers, Thibodeau refocused the agenda to how his team has performed without the superstar.
I like our team. You guys, I guess you dont believe me, but I believe we have more than enough. If we do the right things, were capable of beating anyone, anywhere. We have to continue to do that and I still think we have a lot of room for growth, and thats the way I want us to be. We went through half a season last year without Derrick and so, the big thing, as I said, is you begin with the end in mind and for us, we want to be playing great basketball at the end of the season and we want to be as healthy as possible. So, with Derrick, its just being patient, let him handle the rehab, continue to listen to what our doctors have to say and then, we go from there, he explained, before delving into his preparation for the current season.
"The thing is, in terms of planning, we knew what the injury was last year, so we had all summer to map out how we were going to approach this. Sometimes it may be different when an injury occurs during the season and thats not something youre planning on, but we knew we could plan on this, so we mapped out what we thought would give us our best chance to succeed.

Adjusting to bench role, Nikola Mirotic made big defensive play to seal Bulls win

Adjusting to bench role, Nikola Mirotic made big defensive play to seal Bulls win

Anytime Nikola Mirotic is on an island defensively in a crucial moment of a game, there’s a general sense of nervousness and doubt that’s palpable inside the United Center.

So imagine everyone’s surprise when Mirotic defended Boston Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown well enough to force a travel in the final minute of the Bulls’ 105-99 win Thursday night.

With the Celtics down two, Brown started his drive from the top of the key and pivoted back to his right. When he rose up for a jumper or pass, Mirotic was right in his face and Brown, a talented rookie playing in his second NBA game, didn’t know where to go.

He came back down with the ball still in his hands for a traveling violation, and the stage was set for Dwyane Wade’s closing heroics.

Wade, the closer was set up by Mirotic, the stopper—well, let’s not go that far just yet.

“I tried just to play good defense, to make him drive the ball because we want him to shoot a contested shot,” Mirotic said. “It was big-time defense. We needed that one. After that, Dwyane Wade has huge stop and made that 3. It’s a team job, team defense. I was just trying to be a part of that. I’m very happy about the game.”

In all fairness, Brown is a rookie and the Bulls would rather not see Mirotic in a one-on-one situation late in games defensively. But it appears as if Fred Hoiberg will give him the opportunities to close games so Mirotic will find himself in instances where he’ll have to make plays on both ends.

Hoiberg called it the defensive play of the game, and agreed with the assessment of Mirotic being an underrated defensive rebounder despite his struggles on that end of the floor.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

“It just goes to show you even when your shot isn’t falling, you can still have a positive impact,” Hoiberg said. “I loved his attack. He was getting in the paint and got some offensive rebound tip-ins as well so just overall solid game.”

Although Hoiberg had to make the decision to insert Taj Gibson as a starter at power forward over Mirotic, it’s not hard to see scenarios like Thursday where both are together to close games—Mirotic will be needed to spread the floor for Wade and Jimmy Butler to create shots in one-on-one situations.

Mirotic missed five of his six 3-point shots but was flawless inside the line, scoring 15 with nine rebounds.

“To be honest, I didn’t feel very comfortable with my 3-point shot,” said Mirotic, although Hoiberg said Mirotic’s attempts were good looks. “I tried to find a way to score, make an impact on the game---rebound the ball, play unselfish. My goal was to play good defense because I know that’s the next step.”

Getting over the idea of losing a starting job many believed would’ve been his given the composition of the roster seems to be behind Mirotic, who was a starter last season before acute appendicitis forced him out of action before the All-Star break.

“It doesn’t feel right to be honest. But no disappointment. It is what it is,” Mirotic said. “I want to not think and be focused and play my game. Now that I come from the bench, it’s like, ‘All right, figure out how you’re going to do that, how you’re going to help your team and play well.’”

Gibson and Mirotic were the only Bulls to shoot over 50 percent, as Gibson’s strong preseason play carried over to the opener. Make no mistake, if the Bulls are to exceed modest expectations, Mirotic will have to step up, as his production is no longer a luxury.

“It’s going to be a long season. But I told Fred it’s no problem,” Mirotic said. “I respect your decision. Taj is an amazing player. He’s playing so good. He’s in great shape. He deserves to be the starter. He has played a lot of years here. So I respect that. I’m cool with that. What I want to do is play my game, improve this year, make my team win more games. That’s all I can do.”

Watch: Dwyane Wade's boyish exuberance comes out after his first win with hometown Bulls

Watch: Dwyane Wade's boyish exuberance comes out after his first win with hometown Bulls

NBA superstar Dwyane Wade showed just how happy he was to capture his first regular season win for this hometown Bulls as he walked to the locker room on Thursday night.

Wade was unable to contain his excitement as he left the court, blurting out the following.

"Thats the way to do it. That's a homecoming right there. I like that one."

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Wade finished his Bulls debut with 22 points, including hitting four three-pointers, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out five assists.

All capped off by a postgame hug with mom too.

Now that's one heck of a homecoming right there.