Bernstein: Rose, Thibs Off Message

By Dan Bernstein–

CHICAGO (WSCR) One has been an extension of the other all season, as they have worked and spoken in lock-step synchronization to lead the Bulls to the NBA’s best record and the second round of the playoffs.

They will be able to compare their respective trophies today, after Derrick Rose receives his NBA MVP award. Tom Thibodeau got his well-earned Coach of the Year honor Sunday.

After every game this season, and specifically the uncommon losses, you could always count on the two to say essentially the same things, publicly. Rose would often be pulled aside by the TV sideline reporter for two or three quick answers, which would then be repeated by Thibodeau when he met reporters moments later. Right after that, more of the same, with identical descriptive phrases bouncing around the locker-room echo chamber.

That’s why I raised an eyebrow at the divergent comments from Rose and his coach after last night’s series-opening loss at home to Atlanta. Sounds like they saw different games, and we’re not used to that.

“There wasn’t one aspect of the defense that was good,” Thibodeau said of the Hawks’ .513 field goal percentage and .538 clip from three-point range. “We weren’t challenging shots, we weren’t keeping them in front of us, and we played a low-energy offense. The intensity wasn’t right.”

About that “challenging shots” thing, Rose disagreed, in a way that I cannot remember him doing before.

“They were hitting tough shots, guys on them,” he said. “They’re just good basketball players. Contested twos, contested threes, fadeaways.”

Hmm, ok.

How about the star turn by Atlanta’s Joe Johnson, who scored a game-high 34 points on 12-18 shooting, including all five of his threes?

Thibodeau: “Joe Johnson basically got where he wanted to go.”

Rose: “Joe was hitting tough shots, hard shots. We contested his shots well. He was in a groove, and that’s why he’s an all-star.”

I’m more inclined to look at the game as Rose seems to. Save for the flaccid first six minutes and some typically-lackluster hustle from Carlos Boozer (has there ever been a player with a higher differential between his level of histrionic expression and his actual production?), this looked more like a They-Made-Some-Crazy-Shots game than a total breakdown of defensive principle or execution.

A perfectionist like Thibodeau, though, just sees the 103 points, the high percentages and the losing result. Even if he dropped a game to a team that did nothing but drain desperation-heaves from midcourt at the end of every possession, he’d still blame his defense. He lives in a world where the opponent should never score at all, if his players are doing things right.

Rose is just being realistic, largely because he’s confident that percentages even out when enough tough shots are taken. He’s already grown up enough to tell the truth, and that’s all he did. If he thought the defense was terrible against Johnson and Jamal Crawford (who had some “wow” buckets of his own), he’d say so.

These men are the two biggest reasons why the Bulls are so good.

It’s worth noting that, for a night, they just had a rare difference of opinion on why they weren’t good enough.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: Rose, Thibs Off Message

Dan Bernstein

Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s blogs here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
Listen to The Boers and Bernstein Show podcasts >>

More from Dan Bernstein
  • Murphs Upper-Lip

    Well, I have to admit, I’ll take the blame for this Bulls loss… Don’t blame Cornelison; don’t blame the Bulls defense, or lack-there-of; let’s not blame Joe Johnson and his impersonation of D-Rose. IT WAS ALL ME!!! After the end of postseason Hawkey in Chicago, I completely forgot to DE-COMMIT to the Indian, giving the (Atlanta) Hawks my (unintentional) support. I’ve already taken the proper steps to see that come Wednesday night, all will be well for Da Boo… (ankle??? What ankle???)

    • Terry Boers' hawaiian shirt

      I blame Murph’s lip, too. I always blame Murph’s lip for my personal troubles. Anyway, the “Boo” treated the Hawks like the Cavs in the middle of January. They deserved the loss, and, hell, they deserved Rose tweaking the ankle. If you’re playing down to a team, not having intensity, and putting yourself in a position where you have to exert energy late, you risk injury and get what you deserve.

  • jason1750

    Bernsy you nailed it! I am listening this morning and you think the Bulls were the 5th seed lucky to be in the 2nd round. Joe Johnson is not going to go 5-5 form 3 again, and Crawford cannot keep making those hard shots at that percentage. Most importantly, Rose will not be shut-down for a whole half again.
    Boozer had a nice run in the 2nd half for awhile, then he hit a long jumper I thought he missed. He then cam e right back with another and missed. They never went back to him again. I think they need to keep feeding him down low. Not because he will score, but because he was drawing the double-team, and it left either Rose or Noah open.


    The Bulls came out flat, pure and simple in Game 1 vs. a Hawks’ team that wasted little time shooting the basketball lights out early in the 1st quarter. The Bulls were down 9-0 by the time they made their first field goal, and the Bulls failed to hold the Hawks under 20 points in all 4 quarters. You’re not going to win basketball games when the opposition shoots over 50% from the field, and allows 2 guys in Joe Johnson & ex-Bull Jamal Crawford to combine for 56 of Atlanta’s 103 points as the Hawks stole Game 1 in the Best of 7 East Semis. Here’s hoping that the loss served as a wakeup call that the Bulls can’t take anyone lightly, even an Atlanta team with a lot more weapons than people think. Needless to say, the Bulls are on the spot in Game 2 tomorrow night. Tweaked ankle or no ankle, Derrick Rose and company can’t head to Philips Arena Friday night in Atlanta down 0-2. There’s no excuse for what happened last night, even if the Bulls had 6 days to prepare.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    DRose’s shooting was ice-cold from more than 15′.
    Also, what the eff was he doing in there with 10 seconds to go, down by 10, so he could turn his ankle???

    • Chris in Scottsdale

      LHA- THANK YOU for pointing that out. I was just about to, and I want to take it one step further.

      While his being on the floor didn’t surprise me (I’m okay with that, though their delays in fouling were just odd), his “sudden interest” in Jamal Crawford as he dribbled to run out the clock that resulted in the ankle tweak/injury/exacerbation was mystifying. Down 8 with 6 or so seconds left, why in god’s name would you make an attempt to make contact/steal after letting the clock run down to that point? It just seemed like a complete mental short-circuit, and hopefully the Boo’ doesn’t pay for it down the line.

      • Derrick Rose

        I agree, Thibs and/or Rose need to be smarter than this. While it technically isn’t a must win game on Wednesday, it is pretty close to one and now they are going into it with Rose having a bum ankle. I agree with Bernstein that it wasn’t poor defense it was just some good shooting from Atlanta. Here’s hoping it doesn’t continue tomorrow night.

  • Murphs Upper-Lip

    Left this post after Saturday nights Cubs victory… still seems relevant so I’ll throw it out here.

    Good win. Soriano with 10 April homers, despite not going off on one of his “hot streaks?” Huh. He claims to be in the best shape since coming to Chicago; if true, this could be quite a season for him. Maybe it’s time to move him into the middle of the lineup, at least until he cools off a bit or someone, ANYONE else proves to be a middle of the lineup hitter… This really doesn’t sound too awful to me.

    1. Starlin 2B
    2. Barney SS
    3. Ramirez 3B
    4. Soriano LF
    5. Pena 1B
    6. Soto C
    7. Byrd CF
    8. Fukodome RF

    Not a mistake with the positioning, Barney is rated as the Cubs top SS, and here’s hoping his bat is for real; if so, why wouldn’t he be playing short??? I’m not saying Castro can’t be a fine/very good SS, but if Barney is rated so highly, why NOT put Starlin at 2B? Worked out pretty good for Ryno, I’d say.

    If you want to argue with Pena at five, don’t… I already give up. Hindsight is 20/20, but wouldn’t it be so much better for the Cubs future if those at bats were going to Colvin, and then they’d know exactly what they have with Tyler? But, since they have doled out $10 million for said Carlos, let’s give him some more time to hit a frickin homer! Unless there is some injury that is not being discussed; then, sit him down, he can’t hit!

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Thanks for discussing where in the line-up to bat Soriano, that was soooo Murph!

    All kidding aside, thanks for reposting this (I had not seen it) because your analysis is excellent.

    Hello, I must be going.

    • Murphs Upper-Lip

      BROWNS CHICKEN POSTER OF THE SHOW!!! (Heyyyyyy… Say it like you mean it…)

  • Rick Williams

    I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. No doubt they shot out of their gourd but the Bulls were flat and when they turned it up in the fourth quarter like they have done this entire playoff run, Atlanta answered the bell. They need to play like they did in game 5 against Indy, come out with relentless energy and crush the opponent.

  • Jake from da Burbs

    This game is quite concerning. Not a hair on fire type disaster but a lingering concern. One is regarding Derrick Rose’s ankle. I dont know why he was in the game and then I dont know why he was trying to press Crawford on the last few seconds. What was he trying to accomplish?

    The Bulls lost this game because Atlanta hit their shots and the Bulls didn’t. The other reason is because Rose just didn’t attack the basket. The most glaring part of Rose is game is 0/0 FT. Thats right Rose shot ZERO free throws. THat just can’t happen. Now with this bum ankle, I dont know how much more aggressive he’s going to be.

    The other area the Bulls lost was coaching. Larry Drew did a great job of calling timeouts at the right time to settle his team down. The Hawks did well coming out called timeouts. Thibs needs to do a better job of rotating the right players. At all times, Rose or Korver need to be on the floor.

    The Bulls also need to do a better job of boxing out and rebounding. The Bulls win because they clobber the other teams in rebounding margin.

    Lots of mistakes yesterday along with the fact that offensively, they were just slow and lacked energy. Noah needs to do his job and provide energy and rebounding as when his family was in town.

    Bulls need to win the next game and they’ll have to do it defensively and hope D Rose is healthy enough to play. They’re going to need a really good game from Watson too.

    • Chris in Scottsdale


      Agreed about the last-second press on Crawford. By that point the clock was just whittling down, so why in the world did he do that?

  • West Town Tom

    Like Bernsie said before, the Bulls aren’t good enough to win without trying hard. They have quickly learned how to optimize their effort–start trying hard at the beginning of the 3rd qtr, then pick it up further in the 4th qtr. So, lately I’ve adjusted my TV viewing habits accordingly. I just start watching the game after halftime. First-half advertisers LOVE that, lol.

  • West Town Tom

    Part II. And after wtaching the Miami game over the weekend, with D Rose’ bum ankle, I think the Bulls now only have a small chance of going to the finals anyway. Felt like the air came out of the balloon. DaaaaaaFlation

  • West Town Tom

    Part III. In the Hawks games I saw against Orlando, Joe Johnson and Crawford were draining shots. They can keep draining ’em longer than the Bulls can remain solvent. Better get ready to score more points. Oops, that means Rose driving to the hoop much, much more. I don’t see that happening, at l;east for long, as that ankle will give way again.

    D Rose, your highest priority for the off season is learning that pull back mid-range jumper. Michael, Kobe, and all the other superstar former ‘drive to the hoop all the time’ players had to learn it, to prolong their good health. Rose got his bum ankle from such a drive against Indy.

    AND we need another good shooter, as everybody and his briother thought earlier this season. They were right.

  • West Town Tom

    Part IV (and last–about time!). So, who wants to trade Joe Johnson for Boozer right now? One guy lollygagged during the reg season and one for the whole season. One can score at will and the other can kinda thow up a shot while tripping over his own feet. Does either play D? Dunno.

    • Chris in Scottsdale


      Joe Johnson is about the ONLY contract in the league I wouldn’t trade Boozer for. Keep in mind that his deal is longer and far heavier in the end ($24MM+ in ’15-’16, where he’ll be a 35 year-old swingman).

      I know that Boozer’s been bad, and that Johnson played his own game of HORSE last night, but come on- the Hawks can shoot longer than the Boo’ can remain solvent? Defense typically prevails, right? Otherwise I’d be listening to Suns fans harp on about their multiple titles this decade. As bad as the Bulls looked last night, they still only gave up 103- slightly worse than an average NBA game. They’ll be fine… I hope.

      • West Town Tom

        Rose’s bum ankle really hurts the Bulls offense. The only good looking game they’ve played these playoffs was when he decided to take over. Doesn’t look like he can do that now–otherwise, why didn’t he last night?

        Even if they get by the Hawks, I don’t see them beating Miami (or Boston) anymore. I thought the chances were good a couple weeks ago, but the Bulls have declined and the Heat have gotten better.

        But, of course, we’ll see.

  • Bernstein: Rose, Thibs Off Message | blog

    […] more on CBS Chicago 本篇發表於 未分類 並標籤為 Bernstein, message, ROSE, […]


    If it means anything, what home court advantage? Other than the Heat knocking off the Celtics in Game 1 Sunday in Miami, 3 of the 4 Conference Semifinal openers in Round 2 were won by the road teams, including what the Hawks did to the Bulls at United Center last night. That includes what the Grizzlies did to the Thunder in Oklahoma City Sunday and what the Mavericks did turning a 16 point deficit into a 2 point road win in Los Angeles vs. the NBA Champion Lakers late last night in a game that might not have made the morning paper. Needless to say, the Celtics, Thunder & Lakers are on the spot in Game 2 of their respective series. Just like the Bulls tomorrow night vs. the Hawks, the last thing Boston, OK City and L.A. want are to go down 0-2 heading home for Games 3 & 4.

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      NHL Eastern Conference both home teams are 0-2 (Flyers and Caps).

      • SPAULDING!

        And, here’s one of those “is there much more to say?” about the NHL:

        The ‘hawks have to play a bunch of games against silly expansion teams AND the West Coast start times. Yet, some of the best teams are in the Western Conference. Go figure. I have no idea what is happening with the Canucks, because they play their games on the “other side of midnight.”
        Boston and Philly is going to be exciting.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    FYI, today at 1pm Eastern, the US Attorney for SDNY will announce a suit against Deutsche Bank for years and years of wrongful lending/mortgage practices.

    What a bunch of deutsche banks!


      Yep, that’s, exactly the story I remember. The guy was a real life George Bailey.

    • Denver Deadite

      I’m surprised that they were the first target. Based on all the stories I’ve read from friends and in the media, it sounds like Bank of America is the worst one out there.

      • Larry Horse's Arse

        Yes Spaulding, one guy in S.F. as the Bank of Italy to provide banking services to the Italian immigrants who could not get loans/mortgages from the other banks (sorta like how the Mexicans are treated…my Mom is 87 and 1st generation Italian and what she went through, in Oklahoma, was fierce).

      • SPAULDING!

        I forget where Bank of America originated. I want to say, it was one man. I just saw it on a cable special (they sponsored the Story of America.)

      • Brian Paruch

        Does that mean no more Deutsche Bank Classics?

  • Bob in Rockford

    I don’t believe Atlanta can beat the Bulls 4 times, but there is enough playoff evidence to doubt that “Da Boo” can celebrate in Grant Park. Too many questions are beginning to linger (unanswered).

    In terms of Bernsy’s point, I will only worry if more evidence shows that Thibodeau “wears” on players like Doug Collins or Scott Skiles. There is no reason to believe that yet, but it’s worth monitoring.

    D-Rose has not been the same since the first ankle tweak, but I’m trying to live in denial about that today.

  • AT3374

    No need to panic about the Bulls or Skynet for that matter

    Bulls WILL in game two and ATL will get one more game before Bulls send them fishing with Kenny , Ernie and Charles , that I’m confident about but Skynet has been quiet so don’t take my word on that situation ……….

    • AT3374

      * WILL win in game two……..

  • bronzo

    I think Danny Boy is reading too much in to this. i think the Bulls came out flat made a nice run in the 3rd …the Hawks shot the lights out. all night. Joe Johnson and Crawford in particular. Rose was right… they hit some very tough shots with peiople in their face just as the shot clock was running out. Tip your cap and move on.

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      “Tip your cap and move on.”

      Excellent and I agree, assuming DRose’s ankle is not further damaged.

      By the way, by making chum out of bin Laden he shall not sleep with 72 virgins but with 72 sturgeons.

      • bronzo

        HEY HEY …. Yes , This all contingent on the fact that DRose’s ankle is OK.

        I heard one yesterday … Bin Laden was looking for 72 virgins and met up with 24 Virginians…( that is where the SEAL team is based)

  • Joakim's bong



    “he says there’s a storm coming.”

    “. . . . .I know.”

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live