It was D-Rose Day Plus One at the Berto Center Sunday as the Bulls held their first practice without their MVP less then 24 hours after he tore his ACL and ended his postseason with less then a minute and a half left in Chicago’s Game 1 win over the Sixers.
Rose was not at practice, rather he was at home resting, attempting to get the swelling down in his knee which gave out yesterday when Rose attempted one of his patient stunt stops. He’s recovering in his $2.8 million Trump Tower condo but to Rose, he’s in the deepest darkest place he’s ever been in his career.
However, the thoughts at the Berto Center are beginning to turn positive. The Bulls really have no other options then to try and move on from the horrific events of Game 1 as their road to a possible 7th title just got ten times harder. But it’s becoming clear the Derrick Rose wasn’t the only leader of the team. He may have been the face, the pulse and the lifeline of this team, but his leadership and positive thoughts are infectious.
“We’re not going to let anybody paint the picture for us.” said Joakim Noah. “Obviously it’s tough losing Derrick .. but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves”
But as much as the Bulls want to appear unfazed by this massive setback to their championship plans, head coach Tom Thibodeau is well aware that when you lose someone of Rose’s caliber, you don’t just throw a dart in the dark and find a replacement for everything he brings.
“He’s not only a great player, he’s a great teammate and great person. But it’s not a death sentence for him or our team.” Thibodeau said today at the Berto Center. “You’re not going to replace the greatness of Derrick. We have to do that collectively as a team.”
But replacing Rose is an inevitability. This isn’t a new scenario for Chicago, the circumstances are just gravely different. C.J. Watson will start Game 2 and most likely the rest of the playoffs for the Bulls will John Lucas III taking Watson’s spot at the head of the Bench Mob.
“We’ll go with John. But Mike is going to play too. At different times, we’ve used everybody.”
It’s going to be interesting to see how the Bulls play in Game 2 after losing their pulse in Game 1. The team is well aware that they are no longer anywhere near the favorite to win anything this postseason now, but this is a team that’s scorned and that goes deeper then Rose.
Wen Rose was missing games in the season, this team was written off right then and there. When Rajon Rondo went off for a triple-double on them without Rose, that was the death sentence. How did they respond?
They responded by beating the Heat twice without Rose and getting revenge on the Celtics without him either. They won the division and closed out the Eastern Conference without his help. This team is deeper then Derrick Rose and the fact that knee jerk, couch potato coaches and analysts were so quick to criticize them and write them off is a chip on their shoulder that is all too familiar with he latest batch of the previous writing them off.
The Bulls road to the Finals just got a lot more bumpy but the road is not destroyed. Joakim Noah, the voice of the team now, has conveyed this new direction.
“Our margin of error is a lot smaller with Derrick out. But we’re not going to let the media or anybody pain the picture for us.”
Stay tuned to ‘Pippen Ain’t Easy’ all postseason long to get the best, most up to date news and analysis on not only the Chicago Bulls but the entire playoff field from here until the final game of the NBA Finals.