Carlos Boozer, Kurt Thomas

Carlos Boozer benched in fourth quarter, not sure why


For the entire fourth quarter of a close game Wednesday — a game Chicago lost — Carlos Boozer sat and watched. Coach Tom Thibodeau had benched Boozer, the Bulls second best player.

And he was none to pleased about it, as ESPNDallas reports.

“You got to talk to Thibs about that,” Boozer said. “That was a coaching decision.”

Reporters did ask Thibs, and got a tap dance answer.

“The big thing was we were behind big and they were zoning,” Thibodeau said. “And so the group that went in, playing Luol [Deng] at the 4, gave us another perimeter player. So it was more effective for us against the zone. So that’s why we did it. And when that group cut the lead down and now we were in position, they tied the game up so we just were going to finish with the group that was going well.”

Actually, Boozer’s ability to get inside the soft middle of a zone and score should have been an advantage, no? Boozer had some defensive lapses, and that may be the more likely reason he sat — a message was sent. The Bulls had gone small and had success, which led to Rose sitting longer than usual as well. But he went back in.

Still, there had to be other ways to send the message. The Bulls need Boozer, both his scoring and his rebounding. At the end of a close game when you need a bucket, Kurt Thomas (who Thibodeau called on) is not the answer.

Benching is a public way of dealing with something that likely could have been handled in private later. With veterans like Boozer, public humiliation  is not the way to go (unless your Phil Jackson doing it through the media).

Come the next game Friday in Philadelphia, everyone will say this is behind them and it is no big deal. Maybe it will be. But this is the first real sign of dissention on a Chicago team that had overcome a lot this season and played well. Thibodeau has to start melding and mending egos, too, if the Bulls are going to challenge Boston and Miami in the East. This action did not seem to help that.

PBT Extra bold prediction: Is this Andrew Wiggins’ breakout season?

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Minnesota is going to be entertaining to watch this season. A healthy Ricky Rubio (hopefully) dishing at the point, Karl-Anthony Towns is already a high-IQ passer, and bench players such as Shabazz Muhammad and Adreian Payne have shown some skills.

Then there’s Andrew Wiggins. The reigning Rookie of the Year developed quickly last season — particularly his jump shot — and he should make a big leap this season. He’s going to dunk on people and end up in a lot of highlight packages while putting up a lot of points.

Enough to set the Minnesota Timberwolves single game scoring record, currently held at 52 by Mo Williams? That’s the question for this PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado.

Derrick Rose being back for start of season in question

Fred Hoiberg, Derrick Rose
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The Bulls have said Derrick Rose is about a week away from returning after suffering a facial fracture this preseason.

The start of the NBA season is two weeks from today (Oct. 27).

So Rose will be ready to go when the Bulls start their season that first night against Cleveland, right? Don’t bet on it, says Vincent Goodwill of, quoting coach Fred Hoiberg.

The opening night projection for a Derrick Rose return is a bit murky at this point, as the Bulls are taking a cautious approach to his recovery with Fred Hoiberg essentially ruling him out for the rest of the preseason.

“Most likely (out for the preseason),” Hoiberg said….

In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rose sit out the first handful of games, as the Bulls start the season with a three-game in four-night stretch starting Oct. 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is in two weeks.

“That will be in consideration, sure,” Hoiberg said. “We gotta make sure, he really hasn’t done anything and that will be a good two or three weeks where he has total inactivity, so just to throw him back out there going 100 percent with his speed and everything, you just don’t want to take any risks, chances, where it could be a lingering issue.”

Just what TNT and the NBA hoped for with an opening night Bulls vs. Cavaliers showcase: Kirk Hinrich vs. Mo Williams. (Don’t forget Kyrie Irving will miss the start of the season recovering from his knee surgery.)

Of course, this is the smart play for the Bulls who need to be thinking about getting Rose fully healthy and focusing on what condition he will be come April 27, not Oct. 27.

And of course, a lot of Bulls fans who are down on Rose will slam him for this. Even though the injury was a freak accident and the team is right to be patient.

Rose could play opening night, if he gets back to practice next week and can get closer to basketball shape. But I wouldn’t bet on it.