Robinson’s 24 points lead Bulls over Bucks; Rose still not yet in full bloom
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org January 30, 2013 9:23PM
Chicago Bulls' Nate Robinson (2) reacts after scoring against the Milwaukee Bucks during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Updated: January 30, 2013 11:24PM
MILWAUKEE — Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said he wasn’t annoyed.
Obviously, he has built up some immunity to “Derrick Rose hysteria’’ as it continues to swirl around his team.
The latest episode took place Wednesday, hours before the Bulls beat the Milwaukee Bucks 104-88 at the Bradley Center to split the four-game season series.
An online publication reported that Rose was taking full contact in practice, set the timetable for his return (after the All-Star break) and passed it off as breaking news.
One problem: Rose had been taking full contact in practice for the last week, and the timetable always has been after the All-Star break.
Thibodeau spoke about Rose after practice Tuesday and insisted that nothing had changed in his comeback from surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
The online report came out Wednesday morning before the shootaround.
So unless the Bulls held a full-contact practice on the bus ride from Chicago to Milwaukee on Tuesday night, chalk it up to a bad case of ‘‘Derrick Rose hysteria.’’
Thibodeau set the record straight before the game with the Bucks. He said Rose had not done anything different Tuesday or Wednesday.
He also said Rose had been taking full contact for more than the last few days.
“Everything is the same,’’ Thibodeau said. “Derrick is focused on his rehab; our team is focused on their improvement and our next opponent.’’
So nothing has changed in Rose’s progress?
“Nothing is different,’’ Thibodeau said.
There’s growing speculation that a Feb. 26 game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the United Center might be the perfect date for Rose’s return.
Thibodeau, meanwhile, seems numb to all the Rose talk and attention.
“I’m not annoyed, but the answers are going to be the same every day, so get used to it,’’ Thibodeau said, adding that he would update the media if anything changed.
Plus, he had a game against the Bucks to save all his annoyance for. Who knew that Nate Robinson would have the perfect remedy for Thibodeau? He came off the bench to score a game-high 24 points on 9-for-11 shooting.
More important, Robinson exacted some revenge on Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings. In a Bucks victory Jan. 9, Jennings scored 20 points in the third quarter and said that Robinson’s constant trash-talking had set him off.
Robinson was still talking on Wednesday, with different results.
Jennings was held to 15 points, then got tossed with 2:54 left after shoving Robinson and having words with referee Derrick Stafford.
“Nah, that was a clean play,’’ Robinson said of the incident. “I took a charge, [Jennings] pushed off. I don’t know about all that extra stuff. That’s on him.’’
Besides, Robinson was more excited about his first dunk of the season. It meant lunch on Joakim Noah and 100 fingertip pushups for Richard Hamilton.
“My teammates have been teasing me all season, saying I’m the three-time slam-dunk champion, and I haven’t gotten any dunks,’’ Robinson said. “I don’t dunk off one foot, so that kind of surprised everybody, including myself.’’