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Hey Bulls, any time you want to stop with this deal where you turn in your by far worst performances at home against the dregs of the league, that would be great. It has been hard enough to build up excitement about this season what with a certain superstar still sidelined.
The loss at the United Center against the terrible Suns (13-26 overall, tied for the second fewest wins in the Western Conference) over the weekend was the third in the last two weeks to opponents the home team should have handled easily.
Earlier last week, the Bulls dropped a decision against a Bucks squad that had just separated from its coach (Scott Skiles) and the week before featured a home setback against a Charlotte Bobcats team that is 9-27 overall headed into this week.
Of course, during the same stretch, this split-personality team has racked up several big-time road wins over Miami and New York. What it adds up to is an outfit that is tied for the best road record in the league at 10-5 but has stumbled to a 10-10 mark at home.
Speaking as a fan who has made a relatively small investment (I've got a piece of a second-balcony season-ticket package - section 314 if you must know), it would be great if we could see a slightly larger return, i.e., just a little of the drama featured in these road triumphs.
The problem with the Bulls, other than the fact that the whole season has been nothing but a giant waiting game, is that they are one losing streak away from absolute mediocrity. Every time this team seems poised to go on at least a mini-roll it finds a way to not just play down to the opposition but to play truly subterranean basketball.
As for that waiting game, well, the Bulls will not hurry Derrick Rose's return from injury. You got that? Derrick Rose will complete the rehabilitation of torn ligaments in his knee when he is good and ready - other athlete's rehabilitation schedules be damned. (New York Knick and former Oak Park-River Forest Huskie Iman Shumpert suffered almost exactly the same injury as Rose on exactly the same day of last year's playoffs. He will almost certainly be returning to the court sooner than the Bulls point guard.)
Remember, way back when (1985), Bulls head man Jerry Reinsdorf felt pressured into allowing Michael Jordan to return early from a broken foot. It was twenty-freaking-eight years ago but he remembers it like it was yesterday and is adamant that it won't happen again.
Except, Jerry, everything worked out fine with Jordan!
He thought he was ready to come back, his doctors didn't forbid it, and then when he did come back he reeled off a run of great games culminating in one of his all-time great performances. That would be the epic first-round playoff game against the Celtics that cemented Jordan's status as the up-and-coming superstar in the league.
I'm sure Rose is anxious to return to action but he isn't desperate to do so like a certain young shooting guard was almost three decades ago - negative consequences to the Bulls' draft position be damned. After all, if Jordan had stayed out, the Bulls almost certainly would have ended up in the lottery for top spots in the next draft. And don't think that then-new general manager Jerry Krause wasn't keenly aware of that fact.
Reinsdorf may be tempted to meddle, but Rose should return when he and his doctors believe he should return. Bulls management should have very little to do with it.
But let's hope Rose finds a way to do so before the Bulls play so poorly at home that fans start asking for refunds.
Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays. He welcomes your comments.
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