Posted April 18, 2013 on
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(Eds: Updates with quotes, details. With AP Photos.) By ANDREW SELIGMAN AP Sports Writer The Chicago Bulls won 45 games without a single point from Derrick Rose.
The former MVP point guard has been sidelined all season while recovering from surgery on his left knee. Just about every other key player got banged up at some point, too.
Now, with the playoffs set to start, the Bulls are about as healthy as they've been all season, and they insist they just might stick around for a while after finishing fifth in the Eastern Conference. They face the fourth-seeded Nets in the first round, with Game 1 Saturday night at Brooklyn.
''I'm really proud of this season because it wasn't easy,'' Joakim Noah said. ''We've been through a lot. There were a lot of distractions. There was a lot of adversity. A lot of injuries. Regardless of what was thrown at us, we fought hard through it all. I'm really proud of my teammates for that. There were times when guys were looking at our team and they were laughing; there were like seven, eight guys on the bench. We never gave up. That's something everybody should be proud of. And now, it's playoff time. So let's go.''
Exactly how far they can go remains to be seen.
They were able to split four games with Miami and even stop the Heat's 27-game win streak - the second longest in NBA history. Chicago also took all four games from New York and beat the Knicks last week after they'd won 13 in a row.
But for all the big wins, there were also some head-scratching losses to teams like Charlotte. There was also a bad stretch in late February when they got blown out by Denver, the Heat and Oklahoma City, and failed to hit the 70-point mark twice while dropping seven of 10.
Now, if the outside expectations are a bit lower than they were in recent years, that's fine with Noah.
''Nothing wrong with being the underdog,'' he said.
At this time last year, the Bulls were eyeing a deep playoff run after capturing the No. 1 seed for the second straight year and were widely viewed as the biggest threat to Miami in the Eastern Conference. All that changed when Rose tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in a playoff-opening win over Philadelphia.
Instead of a championship, the Bulls bowed out in the first round of the playoffs. They dismantled their so-called ''bench mob'' in the offseason and treaded water this season, staying afloat when they could have sunk.
Not only was there the ongoing drama surrounding Rose's recovery and whether he would return, there was a long list of injuries that constantly forced coach Tom Thibodeau to juggle the rotation. The Bulls went with 15 different starting lineups.
Richard Hamilton, Kirk Hinrich, Marco Belinelli, Luol Deng and Noah all missed significant time because of injuries. And even though all the key players were available Wednesday when the Bulls closed out the regular season with a 95-92 win over Washington, Noah (foot) and Gibson (knee) had their minutes limited.
It's not clear how much time they'll get when the playoffs start. Noah said he wasn't in much pain but acknowledged he was out of sync in his 14 minutes on Wednesday.
''During the game, he feels fine,'' Thibodeau said. ''I think he's hopeful that he'll get better and better as we go along. It's the type of injury where he's going to have to try to manage it as best as he can.''
He could decide to start Nazr Mohammed again after he scored a season-high 17 points against Washington and bring Noah off the bench.
''I like having the problem of trying to decide on the rotation,'' Thibodeau said. ''You'd like to have everyone completely healthy, but I'll take what we have.''
BEST OF MAXIM
The most epic lawsuit of all time, perhaps. A Peoria Illinois man is about to bring legal action against the former MVP for missing the entire 2013 season. HipHop365 reported that Matthew Thompson, a self-described long time Bulls fan, and electrician by trade filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Derrick Rose. Thompson claims Rose’s absence caused him to have mental breakdowns...
We've posted some pretty crazy NBA-related lawsuits over the years but this one from man in Peoria, Illinois might take the cake as the strangest.The man's name is Matthew Thompson and he suing Bulls star guard Derrick Rose for not playing in the 2013 regular season which caused Thompson, "mental breakdowns" and "stress":A 25 year old Peoria Illinois man...
This is why fat guys are suing Derrick Rose for depression. I don’t think the majority of people have a real problem with Rose sitting out for the entire year. A lot of people think it is the smart way to go. I believe fans get annoyed though, when the Bulls release comments like this.
“He’s most likely out but you never know,” Thibodeau said. “The playoffs are stretched...
The Chicago Bulls and Derrick Rose saga is starting to give me a headache.
According to a story via Slam Online, per the Chicago Sun-Times, there are quite a few people within the Bulls organization who are holding out hope that Rose will return for the first round of the playoffs.
With growing hope expressed by teammates that Derrick Rose could step on the court for Game 1 of...
The Chicago Bulls will once again be forced to fight for a solution in the post-season without their best player.
In 2011-12 point guard Derrick Rose went down in the first round.
It looks like wear-and-tear could sit Joakim Noah for a few games in the current post-season before the games get underway.
Please click here to read this story.
The post Joakim Noah on the reality...
Derrick Rose’s son PJ is adorable. Earlier this week, DRose’s girlfriend Mieka Reese hit up the Bulls game with one of Lil Wayne’s baby mama’s Sarah Vivan and of course, photos were placed on Instagram. Mieka is the one on the right in the photo of the two ladies standing.
In other DRose news, no word if he’ll be back for the playoffs yet but one irate fan is...
Derrick Rose news?
I “DONNNNNNNNN’TTTTTT CARRRRRRRRREEEEEEEE” (credit Jay Cutler) when it comes to Derrick Rose return/rehabilitation coverage. I’ve been nauseated by the story for over a month already. Seriously, right now, I don’t want to even hear the name Derrick Rose until Bulls Media Day in October.
But then I stumbled across this not quite amusing but possibly...
Right now, we really don't know if Derrick Rose is going to play in this series or not. If he does, it's really not good news for the Nets at all
Heading into tonight's final day of the regular season, the only thing that the Nets knew about their 1st round matchup in the playoffs was that it would start at the Barclays Center, either this Saturday...
The Nets are bringing postseason basketball to Brooklyn, and Joakim Noah might have to miss the party.
Noah, who grew up in New York, is battling foot problems and might be sidelined when the series opens Saturday, leaving the Chicago Bulls without their top option to defend Nets All-Star center Brook Lopez.
''It's really hard, it's really hard,'' Noah said...
The Bulls might be without two of their most important pieces during the first round of the playoffs.
RealGM is reporting that Joakim Noah could miss the Chicago Bulls’ entire first round series against the Brooklyn Nets due to lingering plantar fasciitis, according to Tom Thibodeau.
Thibodeau was asked about the possibility of Noah missing the who series.
Derrick Rose vs. Deron Williams. Three or four years ago I would have been all about that marquee point guard match-up in the NBA playoffs. Tonight, one won’t even play and the other is past his prime. Neither one of them comes even remotely close to earning their grossly exorbitant paycheck. That’s why the Chicago Bulls vs. the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA Playoffs means very little...
The Chicago Bulls got Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson back at the end of the season, but neither player is completely healthy entering the playoffs. For that reason, the Bulls will place both Noah and Gibson on minutes limits during their first-round matchup against the Brooklyn Nets.Coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters -- including Chris Cason of CSN Chicago -- that the team is still...