Rose unlikely to sit on Bulls bench vs. Knicks

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Rose unlikely to sit on Bulls bench vs. Knicks

NEW YORK As Derrick Rose continues to recover from his torn ACL, every step he takes continues to be breathlessly monitored, regardless of how meaningful it is.

Asked whether the injured point guard, who accompanied the Bulls on their trip to New York, would begin to sit on the bench during games, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau responded, Well, he could.

Hes still locked into doing some rehab stuff, the coach continued, in a less than definitive fashion. Whether he sits on the bench or not, hes here with us. Hes doing practice, hes in the locker room. If he can get more done in the locker room as the games going on obviously watching the game but he also has the opportunity to do some extra stuff back there. Again, the main focus for him is the rehab and weve prioritized that.

This has been the normal plan right from the start. His whole focus is on his rehab and when hes ready to play or when he starts fully practicing, hell probably be more on the bench. But as long as he can get that extra work in, Id rather have him doing that.

Thibodeau seemed to indicate that Rose wouldnt be courtside in the near future, or at least not for Fridays game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden where a waitress serving New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently tripped San Antonios Stephen Jackson, leading to an ankle injury but its not because the Chicago native isnt mobile enough to avoid getting out of the way.

That part, hes fine. I just think its better right now for him to continue doing the things that hes been doing. Thats the most benefit to him, Thibodeau explained. In the past month, its been shifted more to, not only the rehab, but getting acclimated to the basketball stuff again. But thats also a big part of his rehab. So, hes doing both, hes doing well and at some point, hell rejoin us.

Thibodeau is more concerned with his team keeping its composure against the Knicks after the last meeting in New York, a technical foul-plagued affair including one on the Bulls coach turned a blowout win into a chaotic, close-knit contest toward the end.

Well, its an emotional game. I thought we played very well in that game, he explained. In the end, we didnt finish with the poise that we would have liked. But hopefully, we would have learned from that. You have to poise under pressure, but you have to play with the right amount of intensity and concentration to get the job done.

New York will have Carmelo Anthony, who was ejected in the December game, back in the lineup after the superstar served a one-game suspension during the Knicks Thursday-night loss in Indiana for confronting Bostons Kevin Garnett after a loss to the Celtics. Whether or not one believes the details of the on-court and postgame encounters between the two perennial All-Stars, the Bulls will have to contend with one of the NBAs top scorers Friday, not to mention a talented supporting cast.

Youre talking about one of the elite players in the league, so whether hes coming off suspension or a normal regular-season game, which is what it is, hes a great player, so a great player commands a lot of attention. We have to be ready for him, but you cant get so locked into just him that youre giving the others easy opportunities, Thibodeau explained. J.R. Smith, the way he can shoot the three. Jason Kidd, the way he plays, youve got to cover the roll to the rim, youve got to cover the three-point line. A kid like Chris Copeland, youve got to know what he does. Marcus Camby may or may not play. Pablo Prigioni is a very clever point guard. Ronnie Brewer, we know Ronnie because we had him and hes one of those guys youll never measure statistically, just does a lot of good things on the floor to help the team win.

Five Things to Watch: Bulls try to snap skid against Spurs on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls try to snap skid against Spurs on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Spurs tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com, the only place where you can get the hometown call from Neil and Stacey.

Coverage begins at 8 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

1. Attempting to end perfection. The Spurs have been absolutely electric outside of San Antonio this season, winning each of their first 13 road games to begin the year. That's the second longest streak in NBA history, and the Bulls have actually lost two of three at home. The Bulls will be home underdogs as the Spurs look to make it 14 in a row. The good news is the Bulls have defeated the Spurs at home each of the last two seasons.

2. Battle of the two-way studs. There's a real argument to be made that Thursday's matchup will tout the two best two-way players in the NBA. Kawhi Leonard, the two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year, is having his best offensive season to date, averaging 24.5 points on 46 percent shooting, 1.9 triples, and averaging nearly 91 percent from the free-throw line. Expect Jimmy Butler and Leonard to be on each other's rear most of the night in what should be one of the most fun 1-on-1 matchups in the NBA.

3. Questions at the point. For the Spurs, Tony Parker is questionable to play with a knee injury. If he can't go, it would be Nico Laprovittola and Patty Mills running the point. For the Bulls, Rajon Rondo is coming off a pair of ugly performances in Bulls' losses to the Mavericks and Pistons (and his suspension against the Blazers). Someone needs to step up at the point, and it could decide Thursday night's winner.

4. Pau returns to the UC. Though it didn't result in much success, Pau Gasol enjoyed two highly successful seasons in Chicago. The stat-stuffer was named an All-Star in both seasons, averaging 17.6 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 150 games. He's now in San Antonio, filling Tim Duncan's role in the starting lineup. And though his numvers are down from a year ago, he's still capable of putting up numbers, especially against a Bulls' interior that has struggled of late.

5. Getting Doug McDermott back. Dougie McBuckets has been activated to the Bulls roster, and not a moment too soon. Since McDermott suffered a concussion on Nov. 12, the Bulls bench ranks 26th in 3-pointers per game (2.5) and 30th in 3-point field-goal percentage (23.5 percent). Getting McDermott back, even in a small role as he gets his legs under him, will be a major factor against a Spurs team whose offense continues to heat up in December.

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Bulls: Rajon Rondo calls incident with assistant coach 'part of the game'

Bulls: Rajon Rondo calls incident with assistant coach 'part of the game'

AUBURN HILLS, MICH—Rajon Rondo almost made it to the quarter mark of the season without incident, but his frustrations got the better of him in Dallas last weekend in a situation with Bulls assistant coach Jim Boylen.

He returned from his one-game suspension in a light mood, but didn’t take things lightly when addressing questions from the media after the Bulls’ 102-91 loss to Detroit.

Rondo admitted that he feels so strongly about things that he doesn’t let them go as easily as he should, which could have been the case with Boylen. Rondo threw a towel after an exchange with Boylen during the Bulls’ blowout loss to the Mavericks.

“That’s a good way to put it. Me as a player, a point guard, I have to handle a situation better,” Rondo said. “But when I feel a certain way, I’m gonna speak on it. My whole thing is always for the betterment of the team.

“If it comes off wrong or a certain way I’ll try to work on that. But for the most part I’m not a selfish individual, I try to do what’s best for the team, try to watch film with my teammates. That’s just part of the game, who I am.”

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When asked if he actually threw a towel at Boylen, Rondo quipped, “You gotta look at the film,” and tried to downplay the situation as best he could, noting the timing of the event in question.

He apologized to the coaching staff and his teammates and believes there won’t be lasting effects, although the Bulls are in the midst of a three-game losing streak.

“Hopefully it’ll be the last three-game losing streak,” Rondo said. “It’s about how you handle adversity. We usually handle it well as far as bouncing back.”

Calling the incident “part of the game,” Rondo didn’t want to address specifics but given his history of instances such as these in Boston, Dallas and Sacramento, this one makes it a little harder to shake the reputation of being difficult to deal with.

“I have a good relationship with my team and I take pride in being a great teammate,” Rondo said. “I think we’re still on the same page. When you lose, things get blown out of proportion. When you win, it covers everything up. So we have to get back to winning basketball.”

His teammates have been supportive both behind the scenes and publicly, and were happy to have him back despite not being able to quell the losing streak.

“It was good. That's our starting point guard. We need veteran guys on this team,” Bulls guard Dwyane Wade said. “We need our bodies. He's our leader today so when we got down early he was the one who kept talking to us defensively. He's so smart out there on the floor, takes certain things away, get out in open transition. The reason we got back in the game, he did a good job of leading us in those moments.”