Bulls hammered by Kings 121-79 as Derrick Rose remains patient
BY JOE COWLEY email@example.com March 13, 2013 11:11PM
Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer, left, fouls Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, March 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Updated: March 16, 2013 6:10PM
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Bulls practices figure to get a little more interesting after an embarrassing 121-79 loss to the lowly Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
Coach Tom Thibodeau sounded like a man who would be making sure of that.
“Just about everything,’’ Thibodeau said, when asked what he was most disappointed with in the biggest loss under his regime. “Our level of intensity is very poor, our readiness to play is very poor … probably most disappointed in myself. My job is to have them ready. We can’t come out like that. That’s on me, that’s on me. I didn’t like our intensity in the Laker game, and I didn’t like it [Wednesday night]. I got to drive harder, and I will.’’
Asked if he saw this one coming with how the team had been practicing in Los Angeles the last few days, Thibodeau fired back, “There’s a fine line because we’re down people. So the people that are there, for us, being short-handed, we can never forget how hard we have to play. So the guys that are there, I got to get that intensity up, and I will. Trust me on that one.’’
It was the Bulls’ second consecutive loss on the road trip, and their fourth in their last five.
And if the team wanted to know where it went wrong, look no further than the 17 minutes leading up to halftime.
With 4:58 left in the first quarter, Carlos Boozer’s jumper gave the Bulls (35-29) a 16-15 lead. It was the last good moment the team had on the night, as the Kings (23-43) went on a 45-10 run before Boozer hit another jumper and drew the foul with 3:15 left in the second.
By the time the Bulls walked into their locker room for halftime, they were down 65-36, shooting 14-for-30 (35 percent) and turning the ball over eight times, while the Kings shot 28-for-28 (58 percent) and had one turnover.
The Bulls played slightly better in the second half, but the damage was done. As for Boozer, he was hoping that this was rock-bottom.
“I hope it does because the playoffs will be here in the blink of an eye, and we’ll have a quick exit if we play like this in the playoffs,’’ Boozer said.
As for injured guard Derrick Rose, Thibodeau found himself defending his point guard against those that have questioned Rose’s will in returning from May surgery to repair the tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
“He handles his part great,’’ Thibodeau said, when asked if outside criticism about Rose was bothersome. “He’s not going to be influenced by anything outside. He knows exactly what he has to do and he’s done that. This is all part of it anytime anyone goes through an injury and we knew it would be a lengthy process to get through this injury. He’s put all the work in, he’s done his part, and all the things he can control he’s controlled.’’
One scenario that Thibodeau wouldn’t rule out is Rose waiting for Game 1 of the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, and then letting the team know he’s ready. If that happens, Thibodeau will have no reservations about playing him.
“Whenever he’s ready,’’ Thibodeau said. “There is no timetable.’’