OAKLAND, Calif. – Derrick Rose went through a full workout at the Warriors practice facility on Sunday, and sounded confident that he will be able to return to the court in time for Tuesday night’s game in Portland.
That’s good because a few Bulls players could use a bit of that optimism these days.
Following the loss to Golden State on Friday night, Joakim Noah admittedly was searching for not only some confidence on offense, but more opportunities, while Pau Gasol let it be known that he had certain mismatches late in that game and never saw the ball from his teammates.
“I don’t think [we did],’’ Gasol said, when asked about taking advantage of his size against smaller players. “That’s my opinion, especially when [the Warriors] go small they’ve got an advantage on the other end because they are going to spread the floor, but then you have to punish them on offense.
“That’s what we didn’t do. I think you have to play to the strength of your players and the weapons. You have to utilize them, you have to maximize them. If you don’t do thatyou’re not being very smart.’’
Guess what first-year coach Fred Hoiberg stressed throughout the short Sunday practice, and will take into the Monday workout in Portland?
Not only reiterating recognition of mismatches and taking advantage of smaller teams, but also reminding his players that happiness in this offense is earned, not just handed out.
“The big thing is if you cut and move and screen and do the unselfish things, that stuff takes care of itself,’’ Hoiberg said of keeping his players happy with the amount of touches they get in a game. “With Pau, you give him the ball at the elbow and he can make plays. He’s a very good passer. But we can’t stand. That’s where we need to get better. We’ve made improvements from where we were at the beginning of the season. But it needs to continue to get better.’’
That’s where Rose and his sprained left ankle comes in.
According to the point guard, because of his long-time relationship with Noah he understands when to get the big man the ball. As far as Gasol and the rest of the starters, Rose said that he knows he will have to sacrifice his own offense at times to make sure there’s a balance.
“Me being the point guard, I think I’m pretty used to everybody on this team and the way they want the ball and the spot they want the ball,’’ Rose said. “I think I do a good job reading it.
“It’s hard [keeping everyone happy]. But at the same time, you have to give yourself up for the team. We have a deep team. Almost our entire bench can go somewhere and get some nice minutes or more minutes than here. But they’re giving up their minutes for the team. The coaching staff knows that. Fred is doing a good job of giving guys the minutes they want. I think everybody just wants to win games.’’