The backup plan actually worked, at least for one game. The Chicago Bulls had to do what they did all last season, which was try to win a game without their superstar point guard, Derrick Rose. He sat out Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors because of tightness in his hamstring.
No problem, the Bulls are more than capable and have enough weapons to win without Rose. They displayed that by beating down the Raptors 96-80 for their first road win of the season.
The Bulls had a plan already intact just in case they ran into some injury issues with Rose. Kirk Hinrich, a former starter in his own right, can and will handle the point guard duties. He is a seasoned veteran who commands respect. He has the trust of coach Tom Thibodeau to run the system and the Bulls will not miss a beat.
Hinrich orchestrated the Bulls to an impressive victory. All five starters contributed with double-digit scoring, led by Luol Deng‘s 19 points. Joakim Noah had one of his best games of the season chipping in with 18 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Carlos Boozer, who’s been the Bulls’ most consistent player, added 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Hinrich, who played a game-high 40 minutes, added 12 points and four assists.
But it was the Bulls’ defensive effort that halted the Raptors. The Bulls played with energy and fire that we haven’t seen in the first six games. They clamped down and played a physical style on the Raptors early and often. They held the Raptors to shoot 35 percent from the field and 24 percent from three-point range.
The Bulls got a very key win with Rose sitting out. Some people will chime in and say they play better without Rose. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves by making foolish statements like that. They will need a healthy Rose to have any chance on contending for a championship. This just shows that they can still play at a high level and compete without their star player.