Rose unlikely to sit on Bulls bench vs. Knicks

980597.png

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.

Fast Break Morning Update: Bulls gearing up for realistic run at the postseason

Fast Break Morning Update: Bulls gearing up for realistic run at the postseason

Today on CSN: White Sox continue spring training slate against Padres

Jimmy Butler, Bulls prep for stretch run with realistic eye on the postseason

Bears believe they got more than just a No. 2 QB in signing Mark Sanchez

Carlos Rodon headed to the disabled list, will start throwing program

Is Addison Russell still on track for Opening Night?

Nikola Mirotic reflects on pump fakes, maddening March, future in Chicago

Tanner Kero latest to try and fill Artem Anisimov's skates

 

No Bears move yet on CB Deiondre' Hall except maybe to safety

Cubs release Munenori Kawasaki and keep the door open for his return

Kristin Cavallari shows off her favorite NFL tight end: A nude Jay Cutler

Nikola Mirotic reflects on pump fakes, maddening March, future in Chicago

Nikola Mirotic reflects on pump fakes, maddening March, future in Chicago

If there's a more maddening player in the Eastern Conference than Nikola Mirotic, that player's psychologist should be getting paid double considering Bulls fans have been talking to themselves about Mirotic so much over the past three years.

And as they've reached no conclusion on Mirotic, along with many other sage minds, only one thing is for certain: March is his month.

Meaning it's the month where it becomes maddening to watch him play and probably equally as maddening for his teammates who've watched his inconsistencies for the better part of four months or so.

Averaging 16.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in 41 career March games, it's the only full month where Mirotic averages in double figures for his career—meaning there's a lot of inconsistencies to wade through to get to the proverbial pot of gold.

In 2014-15, he emerged as the NBA's best fourth-quarter scorer that month when the Bulls were without both Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler. Last season, he came back fresh after an appendectomy took a big chunk of his year.

This year, there's no big macro reason. He's just playing definitively, making quick movements and it's paying off as his two best scoring games took place within a four-day span (28 against both Detroit and Milwaukee).

"Right now, you see I'm shooting without hesitation," Mirotic said to CSNChicago.com. "Just catch and shooting. It's a great feeling."

No word on whether Mirotic hears the fans in the arena or the twitterverse screaming for him to ditch the pump fake that he actually admits it got in his head, but this season has been a roller coaster of the most dramatic kind, as the Bulls are still vying for playoff positioning with eight games remaining in the regular season.

"Sometimes, especially when I'm reading you guys (media), Niko pump fake, pump fake," Mirotic said with a smile. "Okay, no more pump fakes, just fire that ball. I'm laughing because you guys are (right)…that's true. You guys want me to shoot. It doesn't look good when you pump fake every time you have a wide-open shot."

Being penciled in as a training camp starter due to the need for floor spacing, Taj Gibson quickly outplayed Mirotic for the power forward spot. Then Mirotic's up and down, down and up, season began.

Kind of like his pump fake that often drew more defensive attention for it's predictability than effectiveness, stability has been hard to find for a player many have been waiting on since the day he was drafted in 2011.

"I know the defenses are ready for my pump fake so now just like, shoot the ball," Mirotic said. "I've been spending a lot of hours working on my shot before practice, after practice, trying to catch the feeling."

Better late than never or too late?

That's the question surrounding Mirotic and he knows it, being aware of his status as a restricted free-agent-to-be, along with his trade value a month ago being so low, the Bulls could only get a future second-round pick for him from teams.

[VIVID SEATS: Get your Bulls tickets right here!]

With the Bulls having so many questions going into the future, who knows if they want to go through the up-and-down, down-and-up cycle with a talented player yet again, with a big-time financial commitment.

In a sense, Mirotic knows he's left plenty on the table as far as his play through the years and seems to be content with playing with a sense of freedom as the season concludes, whether he's back with the Bulls or not for next year and beyond.

"I just wanna leave a good impression for the Bulls," Mirotic said. "Whatever decision they make. It's been a pleasure. A lot of people dream to be here, I was one of those guys when I was in Europe. I was really like, I wanna go there and play for the Bulls. The history they have. For me, it's a dream come true. Whatever decision they make, I make, whatever. I don't know. The years here have been great. I know it's been up and down. It's been a pleasure and I just wanna finish right."