COMMENTARY | With Monday night's 96-81 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Chicago Bulls -- winners of two straight games -- improved their record to 3-3 and can now hang their hats on a little momentum for the first time this season.
Though still a bit sloppy on the offensive end of the floor, Chicago's defense forced 18 turnovers and held the Kyrie Irving-led Cavs to just 41.3-percent shooting from the floor.
Irving finished the game making only five of his 19 shots for 16 points, while chipping in just four assists and two rebounds. This after going off for 39 points and 12 assists two nights before against the Philadelphia 76ers, setting up the very first meeting between Derrick Rose and the Cleveland point guard -- both former No. 1 overall picks.
The story of the night, however, was Rose leaving the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent right hamstring injury. The former MVP does not seem too worried at the moment, however.
"It's nothing big at all … I'm still able to walk around, move around the way I want to. Just a little sore."
Though Rose knows better than anyone how his own body feels -- seeming that he took an entire season away from the game to rehab and rest a torn ACL -- the Bulls must be very protective of their superstar moving forward, which only adds to the frustration of an already slow start to the year.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau is optimistically cautious at this point.
"He tweaked it," he said. "He'll be re-evaluated tomorrow. … We'll have more information then, but it appears to be minor."
Having struggled to jell early in the season, any delay in getting Rose back to his former self should worry Chicago. Though he may have just tweaked a hamstring, that type of injury has a tendency to linger and is probably going to prompt the Bulls to scale his minutes back for a few games -- even though they do not play again until Friday with a road contest against the Toronto Raptors.
Optimism was high for the Bulls following an 8-0 preseason in which Rose appeared to be back and better than ever.
In six games, however, the point guard is averaging just 14.7 points per game on 33.3-percent shooting. And with just 27 assists to 25 turnovers -- and minimal contribution elsewhere -- Rose has found it difficult to pick up where he left off prior to his injury.
The Bulls realize that the season is 82 games long and that there is plenty of time to assume their role as one of the top contenders in dethroning the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference. It all starts and ends with the health and resurgence of Rose, however, and this latest injury certainly creates another road block for this team.
Jeremy Sickel has successfully created and operated numerous websites. His work can be read on Yahoo and Bleacher Report, and he has also appeared on various podcasts and sports talk shows around the country. Interact with Jeremy on Twitter @JeremySickel.
- Sports & Recreation
- Chicago Bulls
- Derrick Rose
- Cleveland Cavaliers