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Bulls looking for some magic against Orlando
by Sam Smith
Posted on Mar 11
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What to do facing the Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard without Joakim Noah and Luol Deng and Taj Gibson ailing with his plantar fasciitis? The Orlando Sentinel newspaper runs a daily poll and the question Thursday was which of the Magic’s next five opponents would give the team the most trouble among the Bulls, Wizards, Charlotte, Miami and San Antonio. The fewest picked the Bulls. Yes, even more picked the Wizards being a bigger problem. The Bulls woes are no secret.
So what to do?
As I’m always there to help, I suggested to Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro perhaps he go Don Nelson on the Magic and send out Joe Alexander and foul Howard six times. Now, that’s what I call junking up the game.
“We thought about it,” said Del Negro. “But it has to be the right time in the game. I don’t want to junk it up like that. Play the right way and if it’s a close game or we’re struggling and we can put someone on the line, we can do that. I see that more a timing issue. I’m not a big fan of just hacking guys to hack them. You have to pick your spots.”
The Bulls were likely going to use some zone and perhaps try to slow the game by walking it up some, though that goes contrary to the team’s best way of scoring, which is to push the ball with Rose.
“I’m not a big fan of walking it up,” said Del Negro. “If we had more post game, but we’re not built that way. We still want to push and get some easy ones. We’ve offensively been productive, but are giving up too many points. So we have to change our thinking with our injuries and the way we are built.
“We can’t expect to give up 115, 120 points and expect to win,” said Del Negro, who started James Johnson for Deng. “We’ve been pretty productive offensively, but we’re still getting beat by those (big margins).”
Derrick Rose did his pregame shooting and a little hosting as he was taken with a young man named Isaiah Walter, who was wearing a Bulls Rose jersey and was serving as a ballboy for the game. Walter suffered serious head injuries in a bike accident in which his head hit the ground and helmet flew off. He had a picture of Rose placed on the ceiling of his hospital room and told Rose whenever things were bad he’d look up at Rose’s picture for inspiration. “I looked up to you on that ceiling and would close my eyes and hear you tell me, ‘Let’s go, get up and get your ball,'” Walter wrote Rose in a letter which set up the meeting with Rose before the game. “On that same day, I told my parents to teach me how to walk again. I learned how to put one foot in front of the other, which was really hard being my mind forgot how to do this. It took me two days to get my balance but I did it, with you by my side telling me, keep going so you can get back on the court. I did all this without therapy, only with God, my parents and you on my side.”
The Bulls needed some heavenly help as well, especially when Derrick Rose, amazingly enough, went down once again in a collision with Dwight Howard. It was late in the first quarter with the Bulls trailing 26-14. Rose suffered a sprained left wrist and left the floor. He was listed as questionable for a return.
It was Feb. 10 in Chicago and also early in the game Rose also was driving at Howard, went up in the air and took an ugly fall and injured his hip, almost costing Rose his appearance in the All Star game. Rose would miss the rookie/sophomore game and the skills challenge. But he did play in the All Star game, but was limited.
The hope is the Bulls have Rose back Friday when they play the Miami Heat, one of the teams they are fighting for that final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Especially since they already are without Joakim Noah and Luol Deng, though Taj Gibson looked sharp and aggressive early against the Magic, the only Bulls player who really did as the Magic opened up a big lead early.