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Derrick Rose wins rookie honors 04.22.09 at 10:10 am ET
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This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, but the Chicago Tribune is reporting this morning that Derrick Rose will be named NBA Rookie of the Year.

Rose joins Michael Jordan and Elton Brand as the other Bulls who have won the award, and despite the play of Russell Westbrook, the already-overrated OJ Mayo and New Jersey center Brook Lopez (see Kevin Pelton’s ballot), Rose was an absolute lock to win the award.

Here’s what else is happening in Chicago:

Vinny Del Negro is coming under fire for running out of timeouts. You may remember that the Bulls had to resort to a Tyrus Thomas heave from about 70-feet after Ray Allen’s 3-pointer, Monday night.

“People are going to second-guess and first-guess,” Del Negro said. “So what? I don’t care. I’m the coach. I will make the decisions. That’s the way it is.”

Joakim Noah: Voice of reason.

The always-awesome Kelly Dwyer broke down Game 2. Good stuff here.

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Bulls teach champs a lesson 04.18.09 at 6:00 pm ET
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It was the underdog Chicago Bulls with names like Rose, Thomas and Noah who taught a lesson on Saturday afternoon to the champion Celtics with names like Pierce, Ray Allen and Rondo. Bring your playoff intensity or else.

And the else in Game 1 was a 105-103 overtime loss at the hands of the Bulls at TD Banknorth Garden.

“I think we lost the game in the first half,” Allen said. “Just going down the way we went, we just allowed the team to do whatever, we weren’t really the aggressor starting the game, and they started rolling, they were comfortable and they did what they wanted to do.”

On Saturday, we really found out why Doc Rivers feared Derrick Rose all season. He diced up his defense to the tune of 36 points, matching Lew Alcindor’s mark on March 25, 1970 when he was with the Bucks.

Whether it was the emotion of the last two days with the Kevin Garnett and Danny Ainge news or simply a team that was tired, the Celtics came out flat on Saturday, something that can’t happen again on Monday night.

“We didn’t talk about it much,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “Obviously, I hope that’s not what it was. It could be. I mean, who knows the emotions. You just think, first playoff game you’d be ready and up. And I just thought we kind of showed up and played the game. And then all of a sudden we got into a fight. And one thing I’d say about our guys, they join in. But at home you’re supposed to start it.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Game Preview: Are the Bulls ready? 03.16.09 at 11:59 pm ET
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At this point in the season, every game is critical for the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls. A win on Tuesday in Chicago would inch the Celtics closer to first place in the Eastern Conference. A victory for the Bulls could put them back in the eighth seed. Both teams are hungry for the postseason. The question is, would be Bulls be ready if they made it to the playoffs?

“Right now, no,” said Kirk Hinrich. “We’ve definitely had our moments, but we need to play much more consistently and bring it every night. At times we’ve taken nights off and it’s kind of hurt us, so we have to make everything count from here on out.”

The Bulls (30-37) lost their footing in the East when the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Celtics (50-17) on Sunday to reclaim possession of the final spot. After getting blown out by the Orlando Magic last week, the Bulls must face both the Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers in the next five days.

“[We have to] play defense and be aggressive throughout the whole game,” said Derrick Rose. “[Those teams are] real consistent in everything they do – defense and offense. We’ve just got to stay a little more consistent and play hard.”

The Celtics have beat the Bulls by an average of 17 points in their first two meetings of the season.  In their first game, the Celtics held the Bulls to less than 30% from the field. In their second game, Rajon Rondo dished 15 of the Celtics’ 40 assists. Both games were lessons for the Bulls to learn from.

“I think every night we have to come in with a certain urgency,” said Hinrich. “Consistently, we just need to start playing better basketball for longer stretches of time and we have to hang on. It’s going to be a tight race. People are jockeying for position and we definitely want to be in there.”

An eighth seed in the playoffs would mean a match up with a team like the Celtics, Cavaliers, or Magic, who are currently vying for the top spot in the East. Veteran point guard Lindsey Hunter faced the Celtics in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals as a member of the Detroit Pistons. He understands firsthand the level of competition the Bulls would be up against.

“I think the first thing that stands out with Boston and with Cleveland is clear cut – their identity is defense,” he said. “They totally take away what you like to do and they make you go to your second, third option. And teams that can do that on a consistent basis are teams that are tough, because that’s tough to do.

“You have to really be on the same page and really be to the point where guys trust each other no matter what. And when I watch those guys play, I see it. Defensively, I see the rotations that guys aren’t second guessing. And if there is a missed rotation, then guys are talking to each other and communicating. And  I’ve been on teams like that so I know what that’s like, and it takes a lot of growth to get there. It takes a lot of growth. And with a young team like ours, I definitely think we can. It just takes some time.”

The Bulls admit they will have work to do if they advance to the playoffs — “We’ve still got some kinks,” said Rose. But with 15 games left to go in the regular season, they are staying optimistic about clinching a postseason berth.

“Our goal is getting the playoffs,” Hinrich said. “I don’t think anyone is thinking about next year right now. We’re focused on the task at hand and just trying to get into the playoffs and see what happens.”

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The Initiation of Derrick Rose 10.31.08 at 11:41 pm ET
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Derrick Rose, welcome to the NBA.

In just the second regular season game of his career, Rose had to run the floor in the Garden against the defending world champion Boston Celtics. It was a tall order for the rookie point guard and he was up for the challenge.

Rose made his presence known by driving on Kendrick Perkins early in the first quarter and drawing the foul. Perkins has more than seven inches and 90 pounds on Rose and still the rook attacked the hoop as if he had a clear lane.

“I’m kind of used to it now,” Rose, 20, said after the game. “I’m the type of guard where I’m kind of athletic, so when I go to the hole I’m used to getting body contact and I’m used to finishing on people. He’s big but I’m practicing those shots all the time.”

Battling the bigs wasn’t Rose’s only concern. He also had to defend the fiesty Rajon Rondo.

“Rondo was good,” he said. “He knows his role on the team. He’s a good, improving point guard. He’s just going to make you better.”

Rose was one of the few highlights in the Bulls 96-80 loss. He tied Kevin Garnett for most points with 18 and scored all of his field goals in the paint. This was a completely different player than the one who raised red flags during an injury-ridden summer league showing.

“I didn’t want to lose,” Rose said of his improved performance. “I was steady driving, trying to get people open, shooting. I just know now that I can’t waste my time when we get out there. The Celtics, they mean business when they get out there. They try to get the game over with quick and we’ve just got to learn that and we’ll be fine.”

Just one game against the Celtics was all it took for a crash course in NBA competition.

“It’s just going to help me,” Rose said. “I’m happy that I had the opportunity to have this game early in the season so that later on in the season I can get better.”

Expect him to do just that.

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Halftime Notes and Numbers at 6:17 pm ET
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At the half … Celtics 49, Bulls 31

  • Kevin Garnett leads all scorers with 16 points. Derrick Rose leads the Bulls with 10.
  • The Celtics outscored the Bulls 30-12 in the paint.
  • The Celtics also outrebounded the Bulls 27-23. KG pulled down seven boards.
  • Tyrus Thomas and Luol Deng shot a combined 2-for-17.
  • Leon Powe scored seven points in seven minutes off the bench. Ben Gordon was scoreless in nearly 12 minutes as a reserve.
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First Impressions of Derrick Rose at 5:19 pm ET
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What can a first pick get you these days in the NBA?

This summer it didn’t seem like much when Derrick Rose struggled at the Orlando Summer League. Tonight, however, he is showing more signs of potential.

Rose is fast so the match up between him and Rajon Rondo is a quick-moving battle to the basket. Both point guards like to drive the lane and Rose has already proved that like Rondo, he isn’t afraid to take on the big guys.

Early in the first quarter Rose drove to the hoop against Kendrick Perkins and drew the fouls. He blocked out “De-riiicck” chants from the crowd to nail both free throws.

Of course you can’t base an opinion on a few minutes of basketball but tonight Rose is coming out strong against the defending champs.

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What to Watch For: Bulls vs. Celtics at 11:40 am ET
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The banner is up, the rings have been delivered and Paul Pierce won’t be thanking his extended family before the game. (We kid, Paul. We kid). It’s Game 2 of the NBA season for the Celtics who welcome the Chicago Bulls to town for their second-straight nationally televised game. You can catch it all on Comcast, of course, with plenty of Mike and Tommy goodness.

It’s Halloween night, or as friend of ‘eei Ian Browne called it: Grown-ups without kids night at the Garden. After the jump, five things to watch for while trying not be scared of Drew Gooden’s new look. Read the rest of this entry »

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