Game Notes: Magic at Bulls
Derrick Rose demonstrates his true value.
by Bryan Crawford / @from_the_chi
Last night’s Bulls home game against the Orlando Magic was the last one before the All-Star break and it seemed as if people packed into the United Center to congratulate Derrick Rose on his being named to the All-Star team and to see him off to Dallas. Earlier in the day he was named to the 27-man US national team roster as well which gave fans even more reason to celebrate. It can’t be understated how much Derrick Rose means to this city and to the Bulls organization and last night he proved just how important he was… Without even playing.
The mood in the Bulls locker room was very loose and relaxed and it was very easy to tell that guys were looking forward to taking a few days off to recover from what has been a roller-coaster of a season up to this point. There was talk of flight plans, the early morning earthquake that hit just outside of Chicago yesterday, and the massive snowfall that we had here as well. Guys seemed to be in a good mood for a change and it made it a really fun environment to be a part of.
All eyes of course were on Derrick Rose who in a little over 12 hours would be on a flight to Dallas to prepare to play in his first ASG. But the talk of the night wasn’t his weekend in Texas, but his summer in Las Vegas and his being able to compete for a spot as a member of Team USA in the 2012 Olympics.
“I’m just happy just to be a part of it. That’s something that in the summer I’ll try hard just to make the team, try to impress the coaches, and for me to go there and have the opportunity to be on that team in 2012 means a lot,” said Rose. When asked what it meant for him to be named to the 27-man US roster he said, “I got a chance. That’s what it means. I got a chance, a pretty good chance to tell you the truth.”
Vinny Del Negro spoke to the benefit of Rose being a part of the national team. “Being on the select team I think will be valuable experience for him. Whenever you can get around that talent and that type of experience, it’s positive. Especially for young players.”
With the relaxed nature of the locker room, I almost expected the Bulls to lose because to me it seemed that guys’ minds were elsewhere, but nobody was prepared for what would happen next.
The Bulls held a small ceremony at half court congratulating Rose on his US team achievement and he posed for pictures with the USA jersey and addressed the crowd, thanking them for their support of him and the Bulls as a whole. Five minutes later though, his night would be over.
Two minutes and 24 seconds, that’s how long it took for Derrick Rose to be knocked out of the game. After attacking the basket on a hard drive, he jumped and found himself face-to-face with Dwight Howard who was going up with him to block his shot. Rose and Howard collided, but Derrick was knocked off balance and came crashing down to the floor on his right hip. The United Center went quiet as he lay there and I looked up at the box where his family and friends usually sit and all eyes were on the TV behind them as they looked to see if he was OK.
He eventually got up and walked off the court under his own power and headed back towards the locker room area. A few minutes later the Bulls distributed a release to the press saying that he’d sustained bruised right hip and that he wouldn’t return to the game.
Talk about a bummer. His injury literally took the air right out of the building and the Orlando Magic capitalized and jumped all over the Bulls. And it was bad. Real bad.
Orlando only missed seven shots in the quarter as they went 15-22 from the field. Stan Van Gundy played seven players, they all scored, and nobody missed more than one shot with the exception of Vince Carter who missed two. Basically, everything that they put up went in and before you knew it, they’d scored 41 points which was a Bulls opponent season high for a quarter.
Meanwhile, VDN found a hard time getting offense from anyone not named Luol Deng who led the Bulls in scoring with 7 points in the quarter. They shot 6-19 from the field and it seemed like after Rose went down, guys had already started their vacations.
After one, Orlando leads 41-17.
The Bulls came out and played more aggressively in the second and actually outscored the Magic in the quarter but it didn’t matter as Orlando pretty much had it on cruise control. At one point they led Chicago by 26 points and the lead never dropped lower than 20 points.
Luol Deng continued to shine scoring 11 points and he got a little help from John Salmons who contributed 6 points, but the rest of the Bulls were a no-show. Jannero Pargo, ever the opportunist, immediately went looking for his offense when Del Negro put him in the game and promptly went 2-5 from the field; all jumpers.
The Magic on the other hand got a perfect quarter of basketball from JJ Redick. He played all 12 minutes, was 2-2 from the field (1-1 from three), 3-3 from the free throw line, and led the team in scoring with 8 points. By the time the quarter ended, the Magic had already scored 67 points in the game, another Bulls opponent season high.
Orland leads Chicago 67-45.
I looked around the United Center and immediately felt bad for all of the people in attendance that were at their first Bulls game. Can you imagine the excitement they must have felt earlier in the day knowing that in a few hours they’d be getting a chance to see Derrick Rose (and Dwight Howard) play live and in person for the first time? Can you imagine how deflating a feeling it must have been to see Derrick go down the first two minutes of the game and then being forced to sit and watch the Bulls get blown out of the building? When I got home I mentioned this to my wife and she told me that several of her friends were at the game and they were a part of the crowd that my heart bled for.
It didn’t bother me because I knew that I’d see Rose play many more times in person, but for the people who may not ever get a chance to see him live again, that really got to me because I knew that even if they wanted to, they couldn’t leave. Tickets are so expensive and you want to feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth, especially if it’s your first time.
As for the game, the Magic led by 29 points at one point. That’s all that needs to be said.
After three quarters, Orlando leads 89-64.
Orlando wins 107-87.
Obviously, all of the talk after the game was on Derrick Rose’s injury. Stan Van Gundy actually praised Rose and spoke to his value to the Bulls. “Quite honestly, without Derrick [the Bulls] are a little easier to defend,” He then laughed and said, “Well, not a little easier.” And on the play where Rose was injured, SVG had this to say. “Derrick quite honestly creates a lot of contact. He’s looking for contact. He finished the play and made the shot which was incredible. He’s so strong and he’s a little bit like LeBron going to the hoop. People just bounce off.”
Said Del Negro on Rose’s drive to the basket that ended his night early, “He kind of lost his balance when Dwight bumped into him, and then he fell,” He added, “It was a good, aggressive move. It was just unfortunate the way he fell.”
Dwight Howard was genuinely concerned about Rose’s well-being as he asked several of us reporters if Derrick was OK. “It was nothing intentional. Me and Derrick are pretty good friends so I’d never try to do anything to hurt him. My job is to protect the basket and I just hope he’s OK. I’m going to hit him up in a little bit to make sure that he’s fine and just pray for him.” He then smiled and said, “It’s not like I caught him and threw him down, I think it was just his momentum when he hit the Man of Steel.”
The good news is Derrick Rose’s X-rays were negative. The bad news is the Bulls looked like a D-League team without him. His injury shines an even brighter light on the fact that more needs to be done to improve this roster and get him some help. His value to the team was never more evident than it was last night, and not just on the court. People are starting to come out and watch the team play again. Sure the Bulls will lose some games with him in the lineup, but they have absolutely no chance to win if he’s not in the game.
The clock is ticking.