When is a win not a win?
When you're tuning up for the playoffs and your chemistry is jacked.
Derrick Rose had two points last night. Two. Coach Thibs sat him down the stretch because he was so ineffective.
We make excuses because, hey, the guy missed a ton of time with a groin injury. And maybe he wasn't 100 percent with his bum ankle. But this is crunch time.
Some teams, like the Celtics, are suddenly gelling. The Heat are imploding. And the Bulls? They seem to be playing better without Rose. Is this addition by subtraction?
Again, it makes sense the Bulls are over-reliant on Rose. They may be awed by him. "Dump it to the MVP," they think, "and he'll score for us." And when he doesn't (or can't) score, the team may suddenly freak out.
When Rose isn't on the floor, everyone knows they could suddenly become the hot hand. Everyone raises their game.
Now Thibs has two missions.
1) Convince the team to play the way they do when Rose isn't there all the time.
2) Help Rose get his mojo back. Maybe ease him in by playing him 15 minutes a game at first. This full game load clearly isn't working for him.
When the playoffs hit, chemistry is more important than jersey sales or All-Stars or future Hall of Famers. Right now, the Bulls' chemistry is off. And it's time to go back to the lab.