Well, Derrick Rose got to Dallas and I didn’t. Snow in Dallas and it’s clear in Chicago. Next thing you know Jason Kidd will make the All-Star team.
Anyway, it doesn’t seem to matter that much to the NBA that I’m still at O’Hare rummaging for a flight. Rose got to Dallas for All-Star weekend, and the indications were good late Thursday night that he’d be playing in Sunday’s game after his brutal fall in Wednesday’s Bulls loss to Orlando. X-rays and an MRI showed no significant injuries, though that grimace you see with Rose is not a smile. He was said to be moving a bit better after arriving in Dallas Thursday and would get treatment and another exam from Bulls physical Brian Cole Saturday.
It remains uncertain whether he’ll defend his title in the Skills exhibition Saturday, though indications are Rose will play Sunday.
It’s too bad he suffered the bruised hip that scared and shocked him as much as hurt him as he later told friends it was the first fall he’d taken like that. It’s unfortunate because he might even have started the All Star game because Allen Iverson pulled out for family reasons and was replaced by the Knicks’ David Lee.
That leaves the East team with guards Dwyane Wade, a starter, as well as Joe Johnson and Rajon Rondo. Stan Van Gundy is East coach and I was asking Van Gundy Wednesday in Chicago about Rose and he said he’d hoped to play him a lot because “he’s really good.” So given only Rondo is a point guard, Rose could have replaced Iverson.
That seems unlikely now given Rose figures to be slowed by his hip injury, though generally with replacement starters coaches like to go with veterans. And since it’s an All-Star game it doesn’t matter that much because there won’t exactly be a lot of pressing and trapping the pick and roll.
So it’s possible Paul Pierce could start in the backcourt with Wade, who plays a lot of point guard for Miami. For the West team, Kobe Bryant dropped out for injury season and was replaced, oddly, by Kidd. It obviously was a paean to Dallas and Mark Cuban for hosting the game. Though with the change Dirk Nowitzki should move into the starting lineup with Carmelo Anthony going to the backcourt with Steve Nash as starters.
That’s likely what should be done. But George Karl is West coach and he and Cuban had a celebrated feud in last year’s playoff series and it’s hardly beyond Karl to bench the Dallas players. Yes, All-Star controversy.
But even if Rose doesn’t play—and I don’t expect that—Rose is scheduled for a busy weekend. He and Bryant will appear together to present the awards at a video game tournament Saturday afternoon.
Rose’s schedule generally looks about like this with some changes possible for treatment and medical reasons:
Interview session with world wide media: 12:30.
NBA Cares community work: 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Youth clinic: 6:00 p.m.
Rookie Challenge to support teammate Taj Gibson: 8:00 p.m.
All-Star practice: 11:00 a.m.
Labor meeting with commissioner and players association: 12:00 p.m.
Adidas appearance: 12:30 p.m.
Game appearance w/Kobe: 2:00 p.m.
Skills challenge (if participating): 6:00 p.m.
Foot Locker appearance: 12:00 p.m.
Depart for All-Star game: 4 p.m.
Return to Chicago for practice.
So it’s a busy and exciting highlight time for Rose.
Before he left, we sat down for a few minutes and I asked him some of the big highlights of his first season and a half in the NBA:
“Against Phoenix this year (with the monster dunk). It seemed like everything was clicking for me. Didn’t miss many shots. Making the right plays. It seemed like everything was clicking the whole game.”
Even more than the opening playoff win in Boston, I asked?
“Yeah, even more than playoffs in Boston.”
“Against Greg Oden last year.”
That was his two hand flush taking a left wing pass and dunking over the seven footer in that early season loss.
“Steve Nash. He’s really shifty and takes angles away from you when you are trying to stick him.”
Did you ever fantasize even about playing for the Bulls when you were at Memphis?
“Never. I never thought I’d be playing for the Bulls. When I first went to Memphis things were so hard at first I didn’t even know if I’d be able to leave after the first year until I got comfortable and things got easier for me. It was tough as a basketball player. I wasn’t thinking where I’d be. The day before the draft I thought I was going to Miami.”
“It’s got to be the injury (in preseason). Getting treatment and recovering from it. It’s tough because it’s frustrating, especially if it’s an injury that messes up your strength in basketball. Mine is running and being explosive and when you mess with that it messed with my whole game.”
Biggest thing he learned:
“Games are never over in the NBA. No matter how many points you are down you can always come back. Or get caught.”
“Last year against the Clippers was my first game we came back. We were down 20 and that’s when BG hit that that three to take us to overtime.”
“Watching other people’s expressions on the court when something happens. I laugh at Joakim on the court. He’s the funniest because he’s always yelling crazy stuff out.”
Off court the funniest:
“The bus rides. Everytime we go on the bus someone’s cracking jokes or laughing or telling a story. Every one of our bus rides are fun.”
“The game is much quicker than any game you ever played. I thought I’d seen it at Memphis, but up here the game is so much faster and you have to know so much.”
“Taking it to Game 7; playing in that game was fun. The crowd was going crazy. They hated us. I like being the underdog. Right there was the prime example with them with home court advantage.”
“Winning games on the road, seeing the team get confidence, believing in each other and letting them believe in me and I believe in them. It seems I’m way more comfortable, smarter mentally, making the right plays. What the game is all about mentally.”
Best time of life:
“Probably the team in college and high school. We were around each other a little bit more. Here there are businesses guys have to attend and families, too much going on.”
“Playing back in Chicago. I’m blessed. Ain’t too many people out there have the opportunity to do that. For me to be playing here and my mom can see me and she don’t have to travel anywhere to see me and my family can see me anytime they want. Friends can come over my house. It’s fun. I wouldn’t take it back for anything in the world.”