NBA: Rose, Deng sit out rout of hapless Bobcats
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Bulls’ 100-68 victory over the Bobcats dropped their magic number to clinch the Eastern Conference’s top playoff seed to three, again displayed the possibilities of an effective Richard Hamilton and handed their foe its 18th straight loss. So Wednesday meant something.
Today brings the final regular-season showdown against the Heat, against whom the Bulls hold a 2-1 season series edge and an eye on a conference finals rematch. So today owns some significance as well.
But nothing matters as much as the health of Derrick Rose and Luol Deng, who both sat for the second straight game with right foot and right rib injuries, respectively. Deng, who has missed 11 games overall, also is playing with a torn ligament in his left wrist.
Deng, however, has shown he can play with the wrist injury, often at a high level. And he said he “most likely should be able to go” against the Heat.
Is Rose, who almost certainly will miss his 26th game – with five different injuries – against the Heat, concerned about whether he can stay healthy and play at a high level in the playoffs?
“I’m not thinking that way,” Rose said. “I think if you put things in the universe, they come true. I’m staying focused, positive and keeping my spirits up. Hopefully, I’ll be healthy in the playoffs. I’ve rested almost the whole year with injuries. It’s definitely hurting me not being able to play. But my health is the concern.”
Rose detailed his injury, suffered in Sunday’s overtime victory over the Pistons, for the first time.
“I remember walking back to the locker room and it was kind of sore,” he said. “I took my shoe off and felt throbbing. Walking was kind of messed up.
“It’s not the actual bone. It’s the tendons around my ankle that have fluid on them. The fluid causes pain. Right now, I’m just waiting for the fluid to move around and try to get it out as quickly as possible. I should be all right.”
What Rose missed Wednesday was a chance to pad his stats. The Bulls responded to their dismal loss to the Wizards with a thumping of the woeful Bobcats that began early. Hamilton scored 12 points without missing a shot, and Joakim Noah scored all 10 of his first-quarter points on layups or dunks.
“He looks like the Rip I’ve been playing against for a long time,” Carlos Boozer said of Hamilton “He adds a lot. The way he is shooting opens up a lot for me and Joakim.”
Hamilton played the entire first and third quarters and scored 18 points before missing his first shot. Hamilton, known for his mid-range game, even made four 3-pointers.
“When I first came back, the problem wasn’t being able to get to the stops I wanted,” Hamilton said. “It was just gaining a rhythm and a feel for the game. Every game it gets better. I’m definitely pleased with what’s going on.”
The blowout victory allowed coach Tom Thibodeau to play no starter more than 24 minutes and rest them for the entire second and fourth quarters. Omer Asik’s nine points and 15 rebounds, one off his career-high, led a strong bench effort.