Thibs’ gamesmanship on Derrick Rose doesn’t last long
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org April 19, 2013 4:49PM
Updated: May 21, 2013 6:24AM
The daily updates on Derrick Rose from Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau have been strange enough at times.
Thibodeau has said “He’s close’’ and “He went through a full practice’’ a lot. When asked Friday if Rose would make a dramatic return Saturday for Game 1 of the first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets, Thibodeau offered a head-scratching ‘‘We’ll see.’’
Pressed further, Thibodeau put an end to the gamesmanship, saying, “No, the same.’’
“The same’’ for Rose means staying in the locker room for games, although he hasn’t declared himself out for the rest of the season with his knee injury.
Ready to go
With veteran Nazr Mohammed penciled in to start Game 1 for an injured Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis in right foot), Mohammed seemed confident that his 15 years of experience will benefit him against the Nets and center Brook Lopez.
“This team was a No. 1 seed before I got here with Derrick, and without Derrick it’s definitely a different team,’’ Mohammed said. “But what I bring is just the preparation and the focus. I just tell the guys that it’s a long season and it’s all about focus. Everyone has to be ready.’’
Mohammed joked that he played limited minutes in the first half of the season to keep his body fresh as part of “the master plan.’’
“[Thibodeau] told me when they signed me they were going to save me all year, and then at the end unleash me,’’ Mohammed said. “No, it was one of those things that happens. Jo was having an All-Star year, playing great. The opportunity wasn’t there a lot at the beginning, but that’s your job as a professional: Stay ready.’’
Thibodeau wouldn’t announce his starters for Game 1, but it became obvious when the players talked.
Kirk Hinrich will start at point guard, Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng are interchangeable at shooting guard and small forward, Carlos Boozer is at power forward and Mohammed is at center.