Wednesday, May 2, 2012

No Rose: A fact ... and a lame excuse

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Long-time readers -- all 9 of you -- know that I abhor injury-related excuses. Shaddup, line up and play; that's why you get the big bucks. 

Having said that, I do make exceptions because there are excuses ... and then there are facts. When a team loses a Tom Brady, a Justin Morneau or, yes, a Derrick Rose, it is a fact that the team simply cannot function anywhere near as well as it did when it had its MVP-caliber superstar.

The moment I learned Rose blew out his knee, I knew the Bulls no longer could win the NBA title.

What I didn't know was that Rose's teammates were going to fail to come out of the locker room at halftime of Tuesday's playoff game. The Bulls somehow managed to get outscored 36-14 in the third quarter by a mediocre 76ers team, and they went on to get humiliated at home.

Where was Luol Deng, an All-Star? Where was Carlos Boozer, the big-money forward? Where was Rip Hamilton, the supposed final piece to the puzzle? I'm not going to blame C.J. Watson and John Lucas III -- Rose's point-guard replacements; there's a reason they are career backups. I'm blaming Deng, Boozer and Hamilton for not showing up. And I'm blaming Tom Thibodeau for not having his team ready to play.

Yes, losing Rose was a horrible break for a team seemingly poised to win it all. Still, on the same night Deng & Co. spit the bit against the Sixers, the Celtics managed to win despite playing without suspended point guard Rajon Rondo (a top-five MVP candidate this season) and injured 2-guard Ray Allen (one of the great shooters in basketball history). Playing at Atlanta against a Hawks team that is decidedly better than Philly, the Celtics prevailed because Paul Pierce put his team on his back and carried it to victory.

Pierce, apparently, didn't get the memo about choking because the star point guard wasn't playing.

The Celtics could have used the absence of Rondo and Allen as an excuse. Had they lost, nobody would have been surprised. Instead, Pierce played wonderfully and got lots of support from his teammates. Instead, they won.

Unlike the Bulls.
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6 comments:

  1. Seems unlikely the Bulls weren't ready considering they vaulted to an 8-pt lead at the half. I'd suggest that, among other things, the emotional charge they came out with faded and then things deteriorated rapidly.

    The Bulls aren't getting Rose back and their chances of winning a title were crushed in a flash. That's substantially different than knowing your point guard is coming back in a game's time.

    And in spite of their record, the Sixers had the third best point differential in the East behind the Bulls and Heat. Their problem was losing a slew of close games. They also present matchup issues with the Bulls; have for two years.

    If you listened to Thibodeau after the game and read between the lines, Deng is hurting and likely would be sitting until the pain subsides if this were the regular season. It's possible the Bulls are all but playing without Rose and Deng.

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  2. are you mad oh balded one...if i didn't know better i would say you were peeved...i have always wanted to use that word so thanks by the way...hope the golf course and the early summer are treating you well...

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  3. Bill KauzlarichMay 3, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    The few....the proud...we Nadelites !

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  4. Put a fork in them, they are done....

    4 out 9 commenting not too bad...

    swing for the fences in your softball games....

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  5. Make it five...

    Unless the Bulls step it tonight, it's gonna be a short spring in Chicago.

    Hard to believe that Rose was the main reason the Bulls are the East's top seed.

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  6. Thanks for all the comments, folks. Now Noah is out, too. It just wasn't meant to be for this year's Bulls ... though I still say them losing at home without Rose to the Sixers doesn't look good when the Celtics can win at Atlanta without Rondo and Allen. I like Thibs; I just don't think he did a very good coaching job in the second half of that game. Cheers ...

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