No Derrick Rose.
No Kirk Hinrich.
Maybe no Luol Deng.
Maybe no Taj Gibson.
A reduced Joakim Noah.
The Bulls don’t have much left besides their 3-2 lead over the Nets, and that might no longer be enough of an advantage to advance over a more talented Brooklyn team.
The loss of Hinrich is particularly harmful. Hinrich had done a solid job of defending Deron Williams, but when Hinrich is out, Williams has scored and set up his teammates with ease. Hinrich’s minutes have mostly gone to Nate Robinson, a poor defender who can’t slow Williams. When Hinrich is off the court, the Nets’ offensive rating is 118.0, and when Hinrich plays, that number dips to 97.5.
The loss of Deng and Gibson might not be so costly. Deng is shooting just 1-for-18 on 3-pointers in this series, and Gibson has just three rebounds in his last four games (54 minutes of play). But the fact that the two key players who might miss the game are struggling doesn’t exactly alleviate Chicago’s problems.
Winning two straight won’t be easy for the Nets, but circumstance keeps making it easier and easier.
LeBron James sat out the Cavs’ preseason game against the Sixers on Thursday night, but Cleveland still held the lead for all but the final 5.4 seconds. Then, Sixers rookie Scottie Wilbekin did this:
Wilbekin, who played college ball at Florida, has a chance to earn legitimate minutes for the Sixers this season as they try to find young talent on the cheap. This is a good start.
Eight days ago, Derrick Rose had surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone suffered in training camp. The Bulls said he would be ready to resume basketball activities in two weeks, and in the meantime will rejoin practice soon. That part is still on schedule — head coach Fred Hoiberg says Rose will be with the team when they return to Chicago on Monday following a two-game preseason road trip, but unless the swelling in his eye dies down, it could be a little longer before he can start practicing again.
Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
It’s not ideal, but since there’s no structural damage to Rose’s face, once he’s cleared to resume practicing, it’s just a matter of getting back into game shape before he can start playing in games. The team is still optimistic he’ll be able to play opening night against the Cavaliers on October 27.