MIAMI – There continue to be more questions than answers when it comes to Bulls basketball 2014-15.
That would be fine if this was still December or January, but it’s mid-April, three games left from the start of the playoffs.
No time to go from Eastern Conference contender to game-to-game enigma.
Or in Thursday’s case in Miami, quarter-to-quarter.
The Bulls were outscored 33-12 in the second quarter by a desperate Heat team playing for its playoff lives, only to come back in the third and put up 33 points, while handcuffing Miami to just eight points.
First, there’s Derrick Rose, who is now two games into a return from Feb. 27 right knee surgery, admitting that he wants to play more than the 20 minutes being allowed, but won’t challenge the restrictions.
Rose, who once again had to sit out the fourth quarter of the comeback win, was asked if he would see the final 12 minutes of a game before the postseason starts, and responded, “I have no idea. I want to. It seems like they’re fun games. But it’s out of my hands.’’
So whose hands is it in?
“I have no idea,’’ Rose said. “I just get it from [director of sports performance] Jen [Swanson]. She tells me when I’m playing and I just go from there.’’
Considering coach Tom Thibodeau is staying completely out of all front office talk of restrictions, his hope is that at some point Rose’s minutes will increase. His attitude, however, is the training staff will let him know when, and if, they do.
“I want to increase it,’’ Rose said of his current playing time. “But who knows?
“Like I said, it’s out of my hands. I would love to play them. But if not, I’m going to wait and take my time.’’
Then came the real head-scratcher. Rose was asked if he questions the restrictions that Swanson has placed on him – or at least the ones she’s told to put on him – and said, “I don’t. Of course I could go longer. But I don’t question her. I’ve been working with her for three or four years now. So whenever she makes the call, I just follow.’’
So he could play longer in games, but isn’t allowed and isn’t questioning it?
Also on parade in far too many games this season has been the lulls in effort. Effort that has been the staple of Thibodeau-coached teams.
Why is this team different?
“You’re talking about a lot of guys missing a lot of time,’’ Thibodeau said. “That’s the value of practices, too, and repetition.’’
In Thibodeau’s world, repetition builds good habits, good habits build momentum.
Veteran Mike Dunleavy was all in on that theory.
“We can’t keep it rolling,’’ Dunleavy said. “Our whole issue all year has been to get some momentum from game to game.’’
Big man Joakim Noah had another take on that question.
“I think that everybody is kind of into their situation a little bit sometimes,’’ Noah said.
When asked to detail that, Noah responded, “Um, overall [Miami was] a great win for us, and I think it’s normal to be caught up in your situation sometimes, but overall I think we did a good job in the second half.’’
Not exactly a whole lot of clarity.
Fitting for this entire season.