AL HAMNIK: Derrick Rose might be smart to sit this season out

2013-02-26T17:00:00Z 2013-03-07T19:19:04Z AL HAMNIK: Derrick Rose might be smart to sit this season outAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
February 26, 2013 5:00 pm  • 

With all apologies to "The Music Man," we got trouble, right here in the Windy City, and it's spelled B-U-L-L-S with a capital B.

Chicago's other winter pro team, not named the Blackhawks, has been weaving dangerously on the NBA highway like an impaired driver — losing seven of its last 11 games prior to Tuesday's tipoff against an inferior Cleveland squad.

The No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt several days ago, the Bulls held down the No. 6 slot as of Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Kirk Hinrich's sore right elbow continues being a problem. Taj Gibson has a sprained knee that's slowing him down.

Coach Tom Thibodeau's pre- and postgame news conferences have become repetitive and terse. Do your jobs. Be mentally stronger, physically tougher.

As a sidelined Derrick Rose watches all the drama with some trepidation, could he be thinking it might be wiser to sit this season out after all?

Recent losses to the defending champion Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder were omens that opened the eyes of Bulls fans.

When LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are on and Chris Bosh tags along, which is most nights, the Heat are nearly unbeatable in a seven-game series.

"LeBron's a great player. The game's really easy for him. All you can do is make him work for his points," said Thibodeau, sounding as if that's impossible to do.

Against a young, athletic team like the Thunder, the Bulls must be healthy and hit nearly every shot to have a chance. Sunday night, they were an embarrassment to the uniform they wore, shooting an NBA season-worst 29.1 percent in a 102-72 blowout.

Midway through the third quarter, the Bulls had missed 44 of their 55 shots and were on pace for the worst shooting performance in franchise history — that being a 23.4 mark against Miami in 1999.

Did we mention turnovers? They've been the nosy neighbor that won't leave.

Against Miami, the Bulls had 27 turnovers, leading to 24 points.

"That's not like us," Gibson said.

Against OKC, the Bulls had 18 leading to 25 points.

"I have to make our team understand the type of plays we have to make to give ourselves a chance," Thibodeau said after the Miami loss.

He was firing both barrels again in Oklahoma City.

"When you face a little bit of adversity when you're shorthanded, you have to dig down and get the job done," Thibodeau said. "We started off the third quarter with low energy, tough shots, no defense, and game over."

He's said this a lot lately.

The Bulls will be a very good team with Rose back and his surgically repaired knee at 95 percent or better, but they still lack another go-to scorer who creates his own shots, like Rose can do with one eye closed.

A quick exit seems likely when playoffs begin. The franchise might be smart to sit this one out after all.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com 

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