Thibodeau’s Boss Won’t Play Blame Game

DEERFIELD, Ill. — No one was storming the Chicago Bulls’ practice facility Sunday with torches and pitchforks, demanding Tom Thibodeau’s head on a pike. Those who were blaming the Bulls head coach for the catastrophic, postseason-snuffing knee injury to MVP guard Derrick Rose most stuck to the taverns, the airwaves and the Internet.

Still, with Rose done for the playoffs — he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee with 80 seconds left in Chicago’s 103-91 victory in Game 1 of its series against Philadelphia Saturday — and his team’s prospects for a Finals run looking bleak, some folks continued to wonder why Rose even was in the game at that point. The Bulls were up 12, at home. Heck, Sixers coach Doug Collins even had starters Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holiday and Elton Brand on the bench.

“Hey look, you make those decisions based on what’s going on in the game. That’s what I did,” Thibodeau said, re-visiting the topic Sunday. “Now looking back, I don’t think there was a problem. It was a 12-point game with a minute and a half to go.”

Chicago’s lead had been 20 three minutes earlier. Rose had played sparingly, appearing in only six of 17 games through Saturday, and was in his 38th minute when his ACL snapped. Players from both locker rooms backed Thibodeau, as did Collins. And Bulls’ veteran Richard Hamilton noted that, early in a playoff series, you don’t want to give an opponent anything that might build carryover confidence — like a score-tightening comeback.

Thibodeau bristled after the game when asked about Rose’s late minutes. But a day later, he said he was OK with the second-guessing. “Nah, that goes with the territory,” he said. “Everyone has a job to do, I understand that part of it. You try to make the best decision for the team.”

Gar Forman, the Bulls’ general manager and one of Thibodeau’s bosses, brushed off the complaints. He and the organization believe Rose’s blown knee was a “freak-type injury” that could have happened early in a game or even in practice.

“There is absolutely no issue there,” Forman said. “It’s a playoff game. They had cut a lead down to 12. We’re going to have our guys on the floor making sure we win the game.”

Thibodeau has thrown heavy workloads at Rose and Luol Deng, in particular, since taking over as Bulls coach prior to 2010-11, a tendency that draws criticism when those two fight injuries. Still, said Forman: “One of the best things he does is pace our team, knowing when to put the pedal to the metal and when to back off. … When it’s time to go hard in practice, when it’s time to not go hard and walk through stuff and when it’s time to give guys days off.”

Just because the Bulls are copacetic on the blow to their title hopes and setback to their franchise player doesn’t mean that all Chicagoans are. There still is plenty of potential blame, real or imagined, if people want to play that game:

Blame it on Thibodeau. It’s one thing to want your best player to flake off rust and flex his “closer” muscles. It’s another when the guy’s unavailability has been the season’s overarching storyline. But Thibs did keep Rose on the bench in the fourth quarter until 7:53.

Blame it on Rose. The Bulls star still was pushing hard, as if taking inventory on his many warehoused skills. He exploded into his knee-crippling leap as if he’d been 100 percent healthy all year. It’s hard to play NBA basketball with a restrictor plate but a little pacing might have helped. Except that he was so darn joyful to be out there finally.

Blame it on the stats sheet. Rose had 23 points, nine rebounds and nine assists when he spied Carlos Boozer along the right baseline. If he was trying to bump his assists to double figures — a big “if” according to those who know Rose’s disregard for individual acclaim — that might have led to the torque he put on his knee as he jumped and twisted in one motion. A straight-ahead leap into Philly center Spencer Hawes might have been less harmful.

Blame it on the Sixers. They were the ones cinching up the score, rather than taking their lumps like proper road kill.

Blame it on Evan Turner. Rose’s rivalry with Turner, a high school foe, might have kept extra adrenaline flowing extra-late in Game 1, leading to the costly burst near the end.

Blame it on the burgers. Fans at United Center victories, when the Bulls score 100 or more, can trade their ticket stubs for free Big Macs. The score when Rose got hurt: 99-87. Hmm.

Blame it on the Bulls’ training staff. Forman and Thibodeau said the team’s medical staff has assured them that Rose’s six different injuries — sprained toe, back spasms, groin strain, sprained ankle, sore foot and torn ACL — are largely or wholly unrelated and that the point guard isn’t “injury prone.” But there’s no pattern here from past seasons or other players.

Blame it on the NBA. As in 66 games crammed into four months in the post-lockout schedule. Except that Rose only appeared in 39 of them and got more treatment and rest than most players this season.

Blame it on endorsements and commercials. Rose did have a hectic summer schedule after becoming the youngest MVP in NBA history. He traveled the globe and, like everyone else, didn’t know when the lockout suddenly would be lifted. Then he was hustled through a quickie training camp and just two preseason games. But a knee injury in April caused by stuff that happened six-to-nine months earlier?

Blame it on Rio. Nope, this one’s no good. Rose wasn’t even born yet when that 1984 movie with Michael Caine and Demi Moore was made.

“Blame It on the Rain.” Milli Vanilli’s lip-synch scandal blew up, not unlike Rose’s knee, soon after recording this 1989 tune.

Blame it on George W. Bush. He’s probably used to it by now.


  1. Fred says:

    Rose in the game with 90 seconds left was the right choice to help protecting that very small lead. 12 points with 90 seconds of clock is an eternity. The 76ers had their top 3 scorers in the game when Rose went down. If McGrady could score 13 in 35 seconds and Reggie could score 8 in 8 seconds, why would anyone imagine such a small lead is enough? Plus Thibodeau is right. Rose needs playoff experience in the clutch if the Bulls are going to win a championship. Bad luck can happen at any time. The best way to keep your stars from getting injured is of course not to play them. That is also the best way to lose games.

    Note: The article states Holiday was on the bench, but on the replay he is in the game when Rose goes down.

  2. Daniel says:

    Poor guy. He’s just a kid. He’s done nothing wrong, he’s so humble. I’m not going to question Tom (who will be the Coach of the year back-to-back) but… maybe Deng and him should’ve been sittin’

  3. Kevin Durant says:

    Thibodeau,Carlos Boozer,Derrick Rose are bunch of gays..OKC is the best team ever!! in NBA there is only one champ in this playoffs and it will be the OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDERS!!!!!.

  4. Tom says:

    You don’t need to push a player returning from an injury 35 minutes in the first game of the playoffs. Chicago plays good defense without Rose and the lead was insurmountable. Thibs has my vote for the idiot coach of the year. He was outcoached last year in the playoffs also. He appears to be a good regular season coach, but the brain shuts down when the playoffs start.

  5. Allen Jay says:

    Bulls can make run in this round even without rose., but in next round or east conf. finals, i think that’s the time they need rose. no one should be blame about rose injury, it’s an accident happen.

  6. Pong says:

    Just a freak accident. Could have happened to anyone. It’s pointless to try to put the blame on someone because it doesn’t really matter at this point. The real tragedy here is that John Lucas will get playing time.

  7. Denzo says:

    Blame Larry bird. If he wasnt fake falling away Rose would have been ok.


  8. rock8050 says:

    anything can happen in a playoff game, did you guys not see a 27 point lead from the grizzlies disappear in the final 7 minutes? a 12 point lead can go by even faster in 2.

  9. Bullsfanforlife says:

    Fear not Bulls fan, this is but a slight setback. We will still go all the way. We will win the Championship for Derrick Rose. It will be the greatest feat in Bulls history. The Bulls still have the best defense, the best rebounding, the best bench, the best coach and they still are the best TEAM in the NBA. The Bulls will still come out of the east. The Bulls will win their 7th Championship for their MVP. The Bulls win will the 2012 NBA Championship. The next Bulls dynasty starts now. The Chicago Bulls will be the 2012 NBA Champions.

    • kobe says:

      way to stay positive…like that..but be honest Bulls r not beating the Heat ..sorry..feel for drose ..the guy is injury prone

  10. RP says:

    THiBs———————>>>>>>>>> the next PG…..

  11. RP says:

    Blame the Coach, He knows that Rose are not 100% healed.. and the sixers are not so strong as what the others compairing it to clippers. Now let the coach be your PG.

  12. JJ says:

    Blame it on chuck norris

  13. GamerGuesser says:

    I like Rose. He so fast. But not much of a stylist. I’m thinking of the worst scenario with some facts and history. I was been told long time ago that basketball players who suffered injury particularly on knees will not be the same again physically and mental toughness. And to the point it is the end of their careers. That’s it. One example is Kenyon Martin who is 1st overall pick and got injured (knee). He was blessed to comeback but not the same player anymore. But who knows, medical approach today is so high-tech and modern. Before Michael Jordan winning championships, he was injured (but not knee injury if I’m not mistaken). For the Bulls, they have a chance for this season. But if they don’t win this season, it will take long time to peak again and win a title but their original stars are gone. They already reached their peak last year and this year. Same with the Heat if they don’t win this year. Philadelphia (Iverson), New Jersey (Kidd, Carter, Martin) and Cavaliers (James) are some teams who reached their peaks and didn’t win championships and until today is seeking a title. I’m not Spurs fan but I think they will win the trophy (history repeats). I’m a Heat fan. I am amazed to any player who excels and pitied them who suffered. I don’t despise players.

  14. Sparhawk says:

    Agreed it was coaches fault. If you are up by 12 most likely your team which did very well without its star can do fine without him for a minute and a half. Players are like soldiers and do pretty much w/e the coach says so its the coaches fault no1 elses.

  15. Cess says:

    After seeing the Clippers comeback last night I have to ask those who blame Thibodeau for leaving Rose in the court when the game was “already wrapped” to understand why he did it. It is the playoffs, you cant quit until the clock says 0:00:00…I still think the Bulls can compete at a very high level so dont get your hopes down!!!

  16. OM%G says:

    Poor bulls and derrick rose, he will never grow to his full potential now,all those injuries especialy the knee injury omg…when he comes back he will never be the same again, he really has to improve his jumpshoots and play in a more conservative pg style he has to care alot more about his health from now on .Unless he wants to continue playing too aggressive and recklessly and have all kind of injuries all the time that might end his career way too early.

  17. miami says:

    coach fault
    pressured reigning MVP
    poor team
    let lucas play then kingjames will jump over him again and again and again

  18. we can’t blame thibodeau or d rose or anyone, derrick came into the playoffs already not in 100% shape, but total respect to the guy he play like on a MVP type level, close triple-double wazzup with that, many of the nba fans was devastated because we just lose a great guy on the court for this season and we can’t watch another epic game on the eastern conference finals between chicago and miami. let’s face it who ever miami faces in eastern conference finals will be a piece of cake for lebron and co. well going back on thibodeau statement we need to finish strong he is right, remember T-mac’s 12 points game with less than a minute on the 4th quarter win over the spurs, it could happen. 76ers still has holiday and williams and igoudala who can knock those 3’s and thibodeau need derrick rose to shutdown either holiday or williams and extend the lead to eliminate upsets! recently clippers did the upset to memphis. so let’s just sit back and pray for derrick rose recovery for the next nba season we know for sure derrick will be back with even more firepower and even more dangerous. so for the windy city let’s keep supporting chicago althrough out the playoffs and let derrick rose have is rest. he will comeback next season and quoting lebron james line “not 1 not 2 not 3 not 4 not 5 not 6 not 7” championships to chicago! GET WELL SOON DERRICK ROSE!

    and to Jason Petrie #SHUTUP and just design shoes!

  19. ChrisM23 says:

    I really feel for the brother and the entire Bulls organisation. A really unfortunate injury and could not have come at a worse time. The team is still farily decent without him, and I wish them all the best. I’m sure they won’t go down without a fight. Get well soon Mr Rose. Your humility and dedication will surely see you back soon.

  20. Ti Brown says:

    There is no blame here. It was an accident. In Thibs defense, the Clippers vs Grizzlies Game 1 justifies that it really isn’t over until it’s over. Nick Young & Reggie Evans aren’t starters but… Plus, how great would it have been to have a more rejuvenated Rose heading into Game 2 for the Bulls? Derrick hadn’t been playing in his normal aggressive, attacking manner offensively. That’s more the cause of his injury than anything – his body wasn’t ready to do what it does normally. Sad to say, the injury might have happened a little later, but it still likely would have happened as soon as tried to get his body to do what it just wasn’t ready to do. Tough situation, but no villain.

  21. blink says:

    It’s no one fault, it’s they’re just making sure to win. GO BULLS!! GOOD LUCK D-ROSE!

  22. SB@ says:

    Once last thing…I wish people would stop hating on Lebron James. “Lebron traveled” or “Its Lebron’s fault” has gotten so old over the past few year. Yes, I’m a Lebron James fan and I hope the Miami Heat win a NBA Championship this season. But those comments are childish. Give it up already. This is an article about D Rose not Lebron James. Grow up people.

  23. SB@ says:

    Ok, Bulls’ coach (Tom Thibodeau) is not at fault here. This is the NBA Playoffs…12 point lead with 3 minutes left is enough time for the Philadelphia 76ers to come back. Derrick Rose has been injured all year. Even with all the games he sat out, he has not fully healed. I’m not a Chicago Bulls fan, but I still feel bad for the organization as well as the City of Chicago. The Bulls will not win the Eastern Conference Division without D Rose, that’s just reality. Regular Season and the NBA Playoffs are two different entities. Teams play at a higher caliber and without your star player it will not happen. I hope D Rose heals completely before returning.

    Miami Heat 2012 NBA Champions!

  24. DefenseisthekeytoCHAMPIONSHIP says:

    In the situation like that you need to trust your team as a whole. No one to blame since the coach carried the bulls to a good season even with an injured Rose. It’s just that a misfortune happened as in the case of Bulls. I still believe that Bulls is still a competitor for the Championship, they have the best team basketball parallel to Spurs ATM and I I do believe in their Defense as their key to success. (If everyone remember the Piston in early 90’s and early 2000, they have their Ring because of their Defensive force.

  25. GO BULLS.. dont lose hope. just pray for teammate to recover quickly.. so he can play in the next game of the series.. nothing is i,posibble to GOD.. he can heal a person in just a second.

  26. ChicagoBulls1 says:

    There’s no one to blame. Rose was playing his game and coach was doing what he thought was best for the team. What’s so wrong about wanting to finish a game strong? The sixers could have caught up, or even more, end up earning more points than the Bulls. It could have been the same if it was not Rose, but another player who went through the same play/moves. So I don’t think we should be blaming Rose or coach.

  27. Proper Conditioning says:

    Man, when your star player ends up with 4-5 different injuries in a season, it means the training/conditioning coaching staff are sleeping on the job, players aren’t made out of concrete, especially with his style of play. We all know that he’s explosive, the wear and tear was gonna catch up to him. Conditioning staff have gotta do a better job conditioning, especially on D. Rose.

  28. mariobulls says:

    Bulls have a lot of chances to WIN this year,just believe…DRose i will pray for your full recovery,just be positive,.sad to say see you nxt season….

  29. Grant says:

    This kid wrote about D.Rose’s injury, and its better than this blog:

  30. Foulpowl says:

    Freakin Lebron it’s his fault!… damn it! LOL

  31. Rezi says:

    Well it’s obvious that Rose needed as much time on the floor as possible to have his inhuman skills regained. That is why Thibodeau’s decision to leave him on the floor was as smart move. besides, Sixers had built some momentum and the difference in score was lowering. You don’t wanna give any chance to other team in first game of playoffs. Rose was finally feeling the game, unlike the torturing times of injuries when he was ridiculously inefficient on the court. This was just another unfortunate incident that may have happened any time during the game. So let’s not blame it on anyone. Now that they’ve lost their MVP, Bulls have to become even stronger first of all mentally and they have to believe in themselves. They defeated all the teams that may be on their way to the finals without Rose so why can’t they do the same in the playoffs. They just have to play as hard as ever and play smart. Hamilton Deng and Boozer have to step up big time and Noah has to continue crashing the boards like he did all season long. Watson has to use his best skill (shooting) in Bulls favor. Now that that don’t have as great ball handler as Rose is they gotta move the ball all the time. If they do what Thibs demands them to do they have a great chance of winning the eastern conference and who knows, maybe even the NBA title.

  32. lakermig says:

    I like rose, he gives it hes all hes a great player but this is no ones fault,he is accident prone and i have a feeling he’s gonna be so all of his career meaning well never get to see hes full potential.kinda like penny hardaway

  33. Toinkz says:

    BLAME IT FOR THE STATS: Because Rose nearly get Triple Double and thats why Rose was in the game to have the 3 double stats…

  34. kavika6 says:

    This was a good wakeup call for the rest of the coaches out there.

  35. Realist says:

    Tom needs to take some pointers from Gregg Popovich, gotta rknow when to pull your stars.

  36. trmttnn says:

    Thibs was the one that got them the number one record. He should/must be the COTY. Bulls are playing great defense and that defense has given Chi great offense. What happened to Rose was unfortunate. But they got to this point mainly without him and without Hamilton. I really do not understand why people started writing them off right after Rose injured himself out of the playoffs. They are a great team. They have a great bench. They play the best defense. They have a good player for every single position. Spurs and Memphis are really the only teams that have as deep teams but they lack the D.

    Bulls have a great chance to win the rings this year. But they also might fall for Miami in the ECF or for OKC/Spurs/Memphis (one of those will get to the finals) in the finals. Either way Rose will have A LOT to prove next season and I’m sure he’ll recover himself like no other and will just destroy everyone who tries to stop him next season. Bulls will get the rings, this year or the next!

    • Scott says:

      Thats what I feel and believe Rose will come back better then ever next year and watch out he is gonna explode and lead like never before, I am lookign at another MVP and scoring title. and a champoinship..

  37. Bok says:

    D Rose just had a freak accident. But at the same time Coach Thibs must realize that it’s just over 2 minutes and learn to trust his bench a bit more. I know they’re cutting down the lead and still, anything can happen. But I think if he trust his bench a bit more (which sounds like a gamble since he’s a PG) it might give him a good enough result (Win) if not better. Just my opinion. Anyway D Rose take it easy, reflect on your daredevil style of play and do good on your rehab and hopefully healthy remaining season.

  38. TheTRUTH says:

    Lets tell the TRUTH, the coach is to blame for this one. Yeah D Rose is always playing hard and a lot of people think that this was going to happen to him anyway, but lets be seirous…. Rose had no BUSINESS on the court. The Chicago Bulls have the best bench in the NBA and the players on the bench could have finished that game out. To tell more of the TRUTH none of his starting players had no BUSINESS out there with a 12 point lead with 3 minutes left. Thats how players get hurt. People are saying they want to send a message then you send it with the bench, not the stars. How do you send a message with the bench? Your bench says that even with the starting 5 sitting we can still hold the team down… Look at Deng also, he is beat the hell up. Why. Cause he is always out there.Sit him down he needs rest too. And to close out you wanna blame someone, blame me cause I said to my brother and sister befoe Rose went down that someone was going to get hurt.. I guess I can see the future and Miami wont win this year eather. Bye Bosh..

    • Sick says:

      i guess you’re from toronto…. LOL

      • Scott says:

        I agree it is the coach’s fault, you know D-Rose has injury issues ansd was out half the season, why do you keep him in. I do not think Rose should of been on the floor with so little time left and with a lead like we had. I blame teh coacg and feel without a doubt he should of took Rose and the rest of our starters out, We have a great bench and who have played great without Roe and Deng, So my question is Why coach?

  39. james thatcher says:

    Coach made a good call, the lead was decreasing. Just look at how the Clippers came back to win from a 27 point deficit in just 7 minutes tonight.

    • kobe says:

      bulls had 12 point lead and the ball with a little over 1 minute to go..he should have been on bench..know season is over

  40. Jcarr says:

    I know that the Bulls had a 20 point lead cut down to 12, but that’s still a comfortable lead with under two minutes. 76ers role players were already off the court, therefore why leave Rose out there after the season he has had due to injuries. Thibs is an aggresive style coach, and noone can blaim him for coaching that way with his proven success, but if Rose has needed as much rest as he’s needed during the season why try and force things. If the 76ers would have cut the score into single digits with less than 2 than definetely bring him in so he can organize and close the game out. I’m a Heat fan and I am disappointed, you always want to beat the best or get beaten by the best.

  41. Orz says:

    Sadly hilarious.

  42. Nabeel says:

    I believe bulls play better without Rose.
    I still believe that bulls can win the title this time.
    go bulls

  43. Arthur says:

    I totally agree that he really needed the rest.

  44. Sheedoshi says:

    Mr. Rose we are with you 110%. Don’t you worry about anything. I have faith in God that you are going to be healed.
    May the Virgin Mary protect you and be with you through these tough times.
    With Love, respect and dedication, Sheedoshi.

  45. wUT says:

    Rose needs to slow down every time he jumps and lands he’s damaging himself he’s playing at a reckless pace that wont allow him to have a long illustrious career. You keep hitting ground hard and landing on your feet with force something is going to give. He already has multiple injuries now enough to miss many games at his age. Playing against Westbrook in the summer is not a good idea. Rose’s body isn’t meant to be play at reckless. His movements are smooth, but he tenses up and gets tight when he decides to play fast.

  46. Belizeboy says:

    It wasn’t his fault, but it was his responsability to better manage Rose’s time on the court.

  47. Mark Lee says:

    this could’ve happened to anyone… but then again… I think Derrick should start working on his pacing game… He cant just explode on the floor everytime he plays…

  48. allaroundballer says:

    This is what happens to player like Wade, Steve Francis, Rose and maybe Westbrook. Force his undersized body to penetrate to the basket and even dunking on someone! They got weak knee in the end

  49. Renato says:

    He made the right call kepping Rose on the floor.The game wasn´t easy enough to put his main player on the bench.
    In the end,it was just an absurd misfortune;Chicago´s objective now is to get to Conference finals,and that´s it.

  50. Fang says:

    Lebron’s fault.

  51. Fang says:

    You forgot to blame Lebron.

  52. m3ck3y says:

    Im not a Bulls fan but I am rooting for them because my team is not in the Playoffs.. And its just so sad to see how a good guy goes down..

    Refrain from blaming the coach too. Their lead once stood at around 20 points and it was cut down to 12 that’s why he should be kept in the game. In the playoffs, there’s no safe lead until the final buzzer, just ask Reggie Miller.

    Anyways, I know the Bulls and Rose will be on the Championship Run soon, these hindrances should just make them lear and be solid as a team.

  53. They are winning anyway,why keep Derrick there still on the court? They need to take care of your players.

    • Correction,,YOU need to take care of your players. The team have won without Derrick, so let it be that way.. Poor guy. He needed that rest instead, now he’s resting for good. Just lost a good player.

  54. Mooks says:

    Coach did nothing wrong. Bulls still have a good team, I guess its just gonna have to be more defence focused!
    Go the BULLS!!!

  55. Bam says:

    blame it on rose for forcing things even he knows he just recover from an injury.