PHILADELPHIA – Sorry Philadelphia 76ers, as far as Derrick Rose was concerned, you just weren’t “worth it.’’
After coming back from ankle sprains Wednesday night in Milwaukee, as well as scoring 13 points and seven assists in that win, Rose opted out of the 118-115 Friday night victory over a winless Philadelphia (0-6) team.
“Trying to be in here for the long-haul,’’ Rose said.
When asked why the Bucks game, but not the 76ers, Rose said there was no setback with the ankles, but, “It’s just that I wasn’t able to play the way I normally play. I think I had no fast-break points, didn’t attack the way I wanted to, but I just wanted to get that win.’’
The Bulls (5-1) didn’t really need him to win the game at the Wells Fargo Arena.
After a sluggish first half in which they went into the locker room tied 57-57, as well as being out-rebounded 24-21, the wake-up call promptly came in the third quarter when the Bulls outscored the short-handed 76ers, 35-19, led by Mike Dunleavy’s 12 points in those 12 minutes of play.
But even with Philadelphia refusing to go away in the fourth quarter, the story surrounding the Bulls was once again their one-time MVP.
It was after the morning shootaround that Rose declared that he was going to, “really think about [playing Friday] and really see if it’s worth it.’’
That prompted coach Tom Thibodeau to again explain the protocol surrounding Rose and his decisions to either sit or play.
“It’s [Rose’s] decision along with the medical people,’’ Thibodeau said. “You have to trust them. They’re doing what’s best. If he can’t go, I don’t want him out there. If he’s not comfortable enough to go, I don’t want him out there. I feel really good about the guys we do have.
“We’re going to let Derrick work his way through it. We have to be patient. There are going to be some ups and some downs. Just keep moving forward. That’s all I want him to do. He’s been out a long time. People tend to forget that. Everyone wants it back in a day. It doesn’t happen like that. When you miss the amount of time he has missed, it’s going to take a while for him to get back. We all have to understand that.’’
Thibodeau was asked how he would answer the growing critics that would call Rose soft, and responded with a, “I try not to get wrapped up into that. When he’s playing great, everyone talks about him being a tough guy and a warrior, this and that. He’s the same guy. The guy has had two serious injuries. He’s working. He’s coming back.’’
When remains the constant question.
While Thibodeau has an understanding of Rose’s latest setback, he also knows that there’s no better place for his point guard to be than on the hardwood.
“If he can go, I think he has to go,’’ Thibodeau said. “If he can’t then he doesn’t. It’s really that simple. The only way he’s going to shake the rust off is by getting out and playing.’’
As far as the Bulls players that remained rust proof, Dunleavy led the way over Philadelphia, scoring 27 points, while Jimmy Butler added 23. Pau Gasol had yet another double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.