Derrick Rose lets loose after Bulls' big loss to Cavs

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The Chicago Bulls have been a familiar inclusion on any list of favorites to win the East. Lately, though, they have resembled a team in need of serious help in many aspects of the game. Coming into Monday night's tilt with the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena, the Bulls had lost five of their past seven games, including two to the Washington Wizards and one to the Atlanta Hawks. It stands to reason the Bulls might have felt the need to prove themselves against another contender to win the conference.

The result was not so great for Chicago. Cleveland's 108-94 win does not communicate the full story, because the Bulls looked out-classed throughout and only really made the score respectable by winning the fourth quarter 32-24. The Bulls shot 37.5 percent from the field (though 8-of-16 from deep), allowed all five Cavaliers starters to score in double-figures (including a game-high 26 points from LeBron James), and generally lacked the strong identity that has allowed them to persevere through injuries and other roadblocks under Tom Thibodeau.

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It was all apparently too much for point guard Derrick Rose, who let loose with his frustrations after the game. Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com has the tweets:

Rose is known for keeping an even keel and not getting too emotional, so these comments are notable primarily for the degree of frustration. For what it's worth, Thibodeau expressed a similar sentiment:

Both sets of comments require some context. While the Bulls have been extremely unimpressive of late, they do have the excuse of playing without Joakim Noah and Mike Dunleavy, two starters who have missed considerable time. Dunleavy has been out all of January with a foot injury, but Noah — not as big of a star as Rose, but arguably more central to what the Bulls do well — figures to come back soon after missing four games with an ankle injury. In some respects, then, the Bulls will have someone come in to help, if not entirely save the day.

On the other hand, it's easy to see why Rose and especially Thibodeau feel this way, because the Bulls have never been a team to feel bad about themselves because of injuries to stars or assorted other bad breaks. This team succeeds in part because of its consistency of effort, and the team we have seen these past two weeks has not impressed in that respect. Part of the worry isn't just that the Bulls have lost six of eight, but that they haven't looked like themselves while doing so.

A two-week crisis doesn't have to define a season, of course, and it would not be shocking to see the Bulls round into their usual form once Noah starts to play his full load of minutes once again. But athletes and coaches can't always depend on that perspective — they're the ones who actually need to get the team back to its winning ways. If their reactions seem extreme, it's because they need to be.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!