As of now, there is now word of how bad Derrick Rose injured his knee this time. Worst case scenario – he tore the ACL on his right knee, the “healthy one”, sending right back into rehabilitation limbo, and possibly making another comeback looking slightly impossible. Oh, and yes, there was also a basketball game which the Chicago Bulls lost 98-95 to the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Blazers deserve more credit than being the footnote on the night Rose got injured just when he got his career back on track again. They own the second best record in the league at 11-2, winning nine games in a row. They’re playing good defense to the surprise of many and so far, completely relying on their starting player is working out quite well.
Even with LaMarcus Aldridge shooting only 4-of-20 from the field (scoring 12 points), the Blazers overcame. The Bulls led by 21 points in the second quarter, but the Blazers had a 34-9 run in the third quarter (winning it by 22 points eventually). The Bulls held a 95-91 lead with less than 3 minutes to go, but Nicolas Batum hit a three pointer, Wesley Matthews hit a big jumper and LaMarcus Aldridge, unlike his shooting all game long, was clutch from the line.
Terry Stotts – We didn’t change any schemes. We just played harder, played better, played with more focus, more intensity, more attitude.
Is it all that simple? Sometimes, in the NBA, the way it sometimes turns out to be, it’s that simple. The Bulls stopped playing with their heads on their shoulder, as Derrick Rose once again opted to take tough shots instead of looking for those he has more success from. He let Joakim Noah run the show too many times instead of being the point guard himself, but all that wasn’t fixable anyway after he made a wrong move with his knee after a Noah turnover, having to be carried off, limping, into the locker room, leaving the game on crutches.
He did score 20 points, but was horrendous with 6-of-19 from the field. Luol Deng continues to be awful while Jimmy Butler isn’t playing, going 6-of-17 from the field to score 11 points. They shot 38.6% from the field, and the moment the game became a wild shooting contest found it very difficult to keep up. Chicago’s offense continues to play in an unintelligent way like it did last year, and they might be forced to try and overcome this problem without Rose once again.
The Blazers don’t have a complicated scheme, but there’s too much offensive talent to let that get in the way. It usually begins with Aldridge getting the ball in the post, but the more Batum touches the ball it usually works better for them He finished with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 5 steals, as the starters scored 90 of the 98 points. Wesley Matthews, who some thought might turn into a sixth man when the season begins (McCollum, injured) led the way with 28 points. Damian Lillard scored 20 and Robin Lopez had his best game as a Blazer, scoring 13 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.
Tom Thibodeau – I’m concerned. Anytime anyone goes down, you’re concerned. But I don’t want to speculate until I have more information. Hopefully, it’s nothing serious. He’s a strong guy. He worked extremely hard this summer trying to get his body right, working out every day.