The Chicago Bulls knew going into Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors without their star point guard who returned after missing all of the 2012-13 NBA season, Derrick Rose. We should have known from the get-go that, no matter the result, any game the Bulls play without Rose was going to get people talking.
The outcome of the contest was never really in question. The Bulls held a 14-point lead over Toronto at halftime and ultimately finished up with the score at 96-80 in their favor. With such a lopsided victory in the Bulls’ favor and with this Bulls team playing well with Rose on the sidelines, that obviously got people talking.
Much of the talk was probably jovial and nature, but I’m also sure that there are some people jumping to conclusions about Rose’s value with this Bulls team if Chicago can win so handily without him on the floor. However, Rose not playing in this game and the game’s outcome are incredibly trivial.
For starters, the Bulls are an elite defensive team with or without Rose on the floor. Under coach Tom Thibodeau, that’s the way that this team is going to perform and, unless there are incredibly detrimental shake-ups to their roster, the team is going to be effective on that end of the floor. So when you factor that into the fact that the Raptors are shooting just 41.6 percent from the floor as a team this year, it’s not hard to imagine the Bulls having a relatively easy night in terms of containing Toronto.
Some people might point to the fact that the Bulls’ offense looked good as they shot 45 percent from the floor and 43.8 percent from three, both above their averages for the season. However, those numbers don’t factor in that Toronto is in the bottom half of the league in terms of opposing field goal percentage and the fact that Chicago presents matchup problems for that particular team.
I understand that Rose has struggled this season which makes all of these narratives have some kind of traction, but they need to stop. Rose is still readjusting to the NBA game and will be fine. The Bulls winning without him is virtually meaningless and anyone who says otherwise is simply overreacting.