The Chicago Bulls keep winning with Pau Gasol leading the way, this time getting help from Aaron Brooks. But it’s sad to see what’s become of Derrick Rose, who played without the facemask on for the first time since the beginning of the season.
The Bulls beat the New Orleans Pelicans, a team that can’t win away from home and hands down the disappointment of the season, thanks to some fantastic fourth quarter defense, a 18-11 double double from Gasol, 17 points from Brooks in just 19 minutes, 15 points from Butler on an awful shooting night and 12 from Doug McDermott, who is finally finding his place on the team and in the league this season with a more consistent role and contribution off the bench, while staying healthy hasn’t hurt compared to last year’s disappointing rookie campaign.
Rose? He scored 9 points in 29 minutes. He shot 4-of-10 from the field, which is actually better than his usual shooting numbers. He’s averaging just 13.2 points per game on less than 37% from the field this season, and it seems that the last few weeks have been harder than ever. Is it the blurred vision, which has supposedly gotten better? Is it simply him? Settling for long range jumpers and 3’s while avoiding taking the ball to the paint?
The Bulls played the way head coach Fred Hoiberg wants to when Rose wasn’t on the floor. Brooks scored 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. The Bulls won the fourth quarter 34-24 en route to a 98-94 win, their second in a row and improved to 13-8 this season.The second unit, with Butler and Gasol intertwined for some of the run, simply outpaced the exhausted Pelicans, who sadly for them and maybe mostly Anthony Davis, peaked last season by barely making the playoffs only to get swept by the Golden State Warriors.
Maybe Rose is going to get better from now on, without something disturbing his eyesight. Maybe it’s just a matter of more time for him, and Butler and this entire team to get accustomed to the kind of pace and basketball Hoiberg wants. But maybe, unfortunately, another Bulls team that has hopes in competing for the East crown and NBA title, is going to be held back by Rose. This time not by injuries keeping him away from the floor, but by the players he has become because of the injuries.