Like most brothers, Pau and Marc Gasol like to compete against one another. After all they have been competing against each other since they can remember and even became the first brothers to start opposite each other in an All Star Game last month.
“ We’re always competitive, we always compete” Pau would add after the game. The Bulls forward would score 13 points on 6-14 shooting from the field while grabbing 11 rebounds to record his 43rd double-double of the season. Pau has been fantastic for Chicago this season while leading the NBA in double-double’s and already trying his career high as well.
Marc would get the best of his brother on Monday night however, when the Grizzlies topped the Bulls 101-91. Marc scored 23 points and added 4 rebounds and 4 assists to guide Memphis to their 21st road victory of the year.
”My teammates found me at the elbows and in the post, and I was able to make some shots,” the Grizzlies big man told the media. ”That makes their bigs come out and pick up their coverage a bit more. You get confidence. You get in a rhythm.”
And as for his thoughts on competing against his younger brother? “It is an honor honestly,” Marc said. The two brothers had lunch early Monday before competing for the second time this season.
With the loss, the Bulls tied their season-long losing streak (three games) and continued to rely on their young core to find scoring in the fourth quarter.
Nikola Mirotic scored 18 points of the bench and added 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Mirotic has quickly become a fan favorite in Chicago and is becoming a reliable option in only his first season. Mirotic scored in double figures for the sixth straight game and is averaging 20.8 points and 8.0 rebounds during that stretch.
Tony Snell would do his best to bring the Bulls back in the fourth quarter with the Bulls trailing by 13 points. Snell scored 11 of his 21 points in the final period and shot 4-7 from the field in his highest scoring effort since February 12th against Cleveland.
While the Bulls (39-26) would get a boost from their young players,they struggled to find scoring late in the paint. Gasol would admit to being frustrated after being hit with two early fouls and Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau would touch on that in his post game presser as well.
“I thought he got a tough whistle, I really did” Thibodeau said. “It was his second foul and Marc is a physical player. I just didn’t like the consistency, so sometimes it goes your way sometimes it doesn’t.”
Memphis (45-18) would receive a big third quarter from Zach Randolph who finished with 16 points and 9 rebounds and Jeff Green who finished with 19 points on 7-11 shooting from the floor, including 3-4 from the three point line. With Mondays victory the Grizzlies tied their season series with the Bulls. The road team in the series has now won each of the last five games.
“We have a good group of guys. We all feel like we have a chance to do something special this year,” Grizzlies coach David Joerger said. “You try to take care of your body, whether that be nutrition or sleep or staying in at night.”
The Bulls will not practice Tuesday morning and will take a much-needed day of rest before traveling to Philadelphia on Wednesday to take on the 76ers. (14-49)
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For the first time since having arthroscopic knee surgery back on February 27th, Bulls guard Derrick Rose spoke to the media on Monday night before the team hosted the Memphis Grizzlies at the United Center.
While the former MVP would not give a definite return date, he did keep hopes of returning before the playoffs alive.
“I know something positive is going to come out of this.” Rose told reporters. “Whenever I come back, I come back. The way I feel right now, there’s a good chance I come back this season.”
Rose, was averaging 18.4 points and 5.0 assists in 46 games this season before an MRI revealed he had once again tore his medial meniscus in the right knee. Rose missed all but 10 games last season after having the meniscus reattached rather than having it removed. This time around team physician Brian Cole removed the damaged part of the meniscus rather than repairing it again, meaning the rehab was originally supposed to only be 4-6 weeks.
Rose said he didn’t know when the injury occurred, but cited the Golden State game on January 27th as a possibility for when he tore the meniscus.
Rose remained positive even when answering tough questions regarding his future, including his thoughts on the possibility of the team being finished building around him as their star.
“Its to each his own.”- Rose said. “If they feel like they need to do that, this is a business too. I know the business side.” “I know they would be making a totally wrong mistake but I am not the owner, I’m not the GM or the president.”
“Next man up”
has become the slogan for the Chicago Bulls for about three years now. Ever since Derrick Rose tore his ACL in the 2012 playoffs, head coach Tom Thibodeau has been forced to change his lineup more than any other coach in recent memory.
Not only have the Bulls had to deal with injuries to Rose the past few seasons, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Kirk Hinrich are among a few others who have missed time due to injury, forcing the Bulls to juggle their lineup and do their best to win with what they have had.
The 2014-15 campaign has been no different. After entering the season as heavy favorites to represent the East in the NBA Finals, the Bulls have once again struggled to stay healthy. Rose, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Pau Gasol, Doug McDermott and Joakim Noah have all had stints on the injury list this season and as a result, the Bulls have struggled at times to close out games.
After the loss of Rose for 4-6 weeks, the Bulls would once again be bitten by the injury bug.
Jimmy Butler will miss 3-6 weeks with a left elbow ailment, and Taj Gibson also sat out with an ankle injury. Without three of the team’s top scorers many figured the Bulls would struggle to find scoring especially late in the fourth quarter. However, the Bulls played up-tempo basketball on their home floor against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season and had the last words after a week beginning with some trash talk.
“I don’t want to talk about Chicago. You know I hate them. You can put that,” Wizard’s forward Nene told the Washington Post on Monday. Needless to say there is no love lost between the two teams, and it would show on Tuesday.
The Bulls would defeat the Wizards 97-92 on Tuesday behind a clutch performance from Noah, and the balanced attack of their young core. Rookie Nikola Mirotic scored 23 points with 8 rebounds, and Aaron Brooks added 22 points and 8 assists filling in for the injured Rose.
“It’s going to be the collective effort. You can’t replace a Derrick or a Jimmy or Taj individually. We have to do it as a team,” Thibodeau said after the win. “They’re going to keep coming, they’re all tough. We’re going to need a lot of resiliency and a lot of fight.”
Noah once again put the Bulls on his back, much like last season, when he became an unlikely MVP candidate. Noah scored 12 points and pulled down 12 boards while battling with his personal rival, Nene. Washington’s forward, and the Bulls’ new arch nemesis, would foul out after going scoreless and grabbing only 6 rebounds. He would also pick up a flagrant foul while taking a shot at Noah, who calmly walked away.
“I’m just happy we won, and I’m happy I kept my composure,” Noah said about the play. “Just trying to put out a video a couple hours before the game about non-violence. And trying to teach these kids about the big picture. You know what I mean? So it wouldn’t have been a good look, not today. But I’m really, really proud of this team and the way we stepped up tonight.”
The Bulls (38-23) would also get another solid game from Pau Gasol. Gasol scored 20 points and added 10 rebounds to add to his league leading 39th double-double this season. The veteran Gasol knows how important these next few weeks will be while the Bulls are without their starting backcourt and leading scorers.
“I think every game is going to be emotional from now on,” Gasol said. “Every game is meaningful, and this team, they’re a tough team. They try to play extra physical to try to take away stuff.”
The Wizards (34-27) were led by John Wall’s 21 points and 11 assists, and Paul Pierce who chipped in with 16 points including 4 of 6 from the three point line. They are now 3-7 in their last ten games and 13-16 on the road this season.
Chicago did a great job defensively on Washington guard Bradley Beal, who came up huge against them in last year’s playoff series loss.
“The game was lost in a variety of ways,” said Beal, who scored only 13 points on 6-of-18 shooting. “Just bad possessions. And I feel like I had a lot of open shots that I should have made which could have put us in a better position to win the game.”
The Bulls will again play at home on Thursday, when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have been hampered by injuries all season long as well.
The Weekend Sports Report with Packer Dave and Steve Leventhal
SRN’s own Phil Meyers joins us to talk about another amazing contest in the Carolina – Duke rivalry, Wednesday night the 92-90 OT thriller at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Plus, Ryan Horvat, also from SRN analyzes the NBA trade deadline deals, while Dave and Steve discuss news from around the NFL.
Hear interviews from Mike McCarthy, new Bears GM Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox, as well as Lions GM Martin Mayhew.
Don’t miss cameos from Dick Vitale, Bob Uecker, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
Derrick Rose came ready to play on Thursday night and prove to the national audience watching on television that he is still one of the best point guards in the league.
Entering Thursdays matchup against the San Antonio Spurs Rose had averaged 24.0 ppg on .484 shooting in his previous six games. The Bulls on the other hand were not playing so hot-losing six of their last eight. However,Thursday night just may have been the breakout game Chicago needed, and the proof that Rose can still lead a team that the critics needed to see.
Rose led the Bulls with 22 points on 9-15 shooting and ignited the early spark by getting to the rim, rather than settling for jump shots in the first half. The result? The Bulls beat the defending champion, San Antonio Spurs (27-17) 104-81 and played arguably their best game of the season.
The win could not have come at a better time for Chicago (28-16), who lost on Monday night in Cleveland, which resulted in Rose calling out his team, and a player-coach-meeting with Tom Thibodeau.
“I said what I had to say, and I think my teammates took it to heart” Rose said after Thursday nights win. “That was my first time ever doing that, and it showed tonight that guys were a little bit composed.”
It was not only Rose who came to compete against San Antonio. All five starters would score in double figures and Aaron Brooks came off the bench to score 15 points in 24 minutes. While it was a nice win- to get the Bulls back on track, coach Thibodeau still had to address the rumors of being on the “hot seat” after the Bulls recent struggles, and reports he may have lost the locker room.
“As I told you yesterday, I could care less, couldn’t care less, and I don’t think our team couldn’t care less about that stuff,” Thibs said.
Well, maybe Thibodeau did not have much to say about the issue, but Rose stuck up for his coach after the game.
“This don’t have anything to do with Thibs at all,” Rose said. “The way that we’ve been playing don’t have anything to do with Thibs. He’s preparing us right. He’s doing everything and did everything possible to prepare us as a coach. It is up to the players to give that effort.”
Even Spurs head coach Greg Popovich had to answer questions about Thibodeau.
“He’s not gonna lose any team,” Popovich said before the game. “I think you guys just have to have stories. So somebody loses a few games, there’s got to be a reason. I guess that’s the one that was picked. Sometimes players listen to me. Timmy stopped listening to me a long time ago. I don’t even coach him. You guys think I’m kidding. He just plays. I talk to him once in a while, but sometimes some guys don’t want to hear it”
Popovich clearly did not want to talk about problems in Chicago when he has his own team to deal with and a NBA Title to defend this season. Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 16 points but was held scoreless in the second half. Leonard also had the tough task of guarding a focused Derrick Rose and struggled to keep up with the former MVP who would score 14 of his 22 points in the paint.
Jimmy Butler also had a nice bounce back game after a two week slump, scoring 17 points and Pau Gasol— who was named a starter on the Eastern Conference All Star Team added 12 points and 16 rebounds. The Bulls will travel to Dallas to take on the Mavericks Friday night.
Post Game Audio below.