Bulls Injuries To Derrick Rose and Rip May Cost Them The Title
The Chicago Bulls have gotten little respect from TV analysts, with regard to winning the Eastern Conference, despite having the best record for most of the season. The Miami Heat, for good reasons, have consistently been the analysts’ picks the entire season. With all the injuries the Bulls have had so far, one may start to believe what was once considered to be hyperbole in Chicago.
The Bulls lost 92-78 at Oklahoma City on Sunday. This beating could be seen a thousand miles away for one reason, All-World point guard Derrick Rose missed his 10th straight game and still isn’t able to run because of an injured right groin.
The Bulls, who still have the league’s best record, are 14-6 this season without Rose and 28-6 with him. They’re 7-3 during his current absence.
Rip Hamilton, the other half of Chicago’s starting back-court, missed his 14th straight game because of a right shoulder contusion. Coach Tom Thibodeau considered him a game-time decision but ended up keeping him on the bench. He wasn’t sure if Hamilton would play Monday night against Houston.
Thibodeau said Hamilton has been taking on more contact in practice recently but he’s being cautious with the 12-year veteran guard, who has played in only 16 of the Bulls’ 54 games because of injuries. He also missed time with thigh and groin injuries.
Chicago has just 12 games left in the regular season, which ends April 26, and should be concerned about their ability to gain traction and rhythm in the playoffs.
Having two guys that are this important to the team miss this many games this late in the season could be trouble for the workman-like Bulls. As the season winds down and the playoffs loom closer, rhythm is the most important thing for a team to gain.
Rhythm and team unity can carry a team through tough times, as the Bulls have shown, but for how long? The Bulls loss to the Thunder was a reminder that teams can win without their star, but not for extended periods of time.
The one major thing the Bulls have going for them is the fact that they are the deepest team in the NBA and carry more starting “caliber” players than any other team. Every basketball fan out there should applaud what the Bulls have done. However, every Bulls fan should feel uneasy heading into the play-offs because Rose and Hamilton have been out of sync for so long.