Denver’s Karl: Even without Rose, Bulls a tough draw


Mar 26

With Derrick Rose sidelined Monday for a seventh straight game, Nuggets coach George Karl was asked about the difference in facing the Bulls without the reigning NBA MVP.

“I don’t think they look much different,” said Karl. “They just don’t have one of the top three point guards in basketball running and controlling their offense at the end of games. It’s in momentum situations where Derrick’s skills and talents explode. But I don’t think they play much differently [without him].

“They play aggressively, they run the same plays, they know that [Luol] Deng and [Carlos] Boozer are big parts of their offense, [Joakim] Noah quarterbacks their defense, and they don’t give you many easy possessions,” added Karl of the Bulls, who are now 12-5 on the season without Rose after falling to the Nuggets 108-91. “They give you a tough 48-minute game with their energy, attitude, enthusiasm and effort.”

A big reason the Bulls have enjoyed success without Rose is the team’s unrelenting defense. Entering Monday’s game, Chicago was allowing 88.7 points per game, second in the NBA. The franchise record for opponent scoring in a season is 89.6 points per game, set during the 1997-98 season.

To Karl, the effectiveness of the Bulls on the defensive end of the floor comes down to one thing: “Their commitment to do it right every time,” he said. “They are a multiple-effort team and they’re conceptually very strong.”

For the Bulls, it’s been a season that has seen the opening night starting lineup play together just 10 times thus far. Carlos Boozer has been the only player on Chicago’s roster to start every game this season, while Omer Asik, Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver are the only others to have appeared in every game.

But don’t expect any sympathy from Denver’s Karl, who last season became the seventh coach in NBA history to record 1,000 wins.

“I’m not talking about injuries they’ve had,” laughed Karl. “We’ve had twice as many injuries as they’ve had.”

Karl did, however, share a few words on the job Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has done in light of an often shorthanded roster.

“He’s great,” said Karl of Thibodeau. “Tom has showed the world that [he can do what] a lot of people thought he could do. I’m happy for him and I’m glad we only play him once.”

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