TThe Bulls-Knicks game on Dec. 21 included 9 technical fouls and 3 ejections (Joakim Noah, Carmelo Anthony and New York coach Mike Woodson).
So it may be no coincidence that noted hard-line NBA referee Joe Crawford worked the next two games between the teams. Crawford was in rare form on Thursday at the United Center.
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In a span of 10 seconds, ending at the 4:11 mark of the second quarter, Anthony drew 3 fouls against the Bulls -- 2 on Jimmy Butler and 1 on Luol Deng. Then Anthony was hit with a technical for talking to Butler and Nate Robinson was given a technical for jawing at Anthony.
A few minutes later, Deng complained about a foul call and was given the third technical of the first half. All 3 techs were issued by Crawford. The second half and overtime were played without any technicals.
"I don't know. It's probably better left unsaid," coach Tom Thibodeau said when asked about the 10-second foul flurry.
Shumpert injury is similar:
New York's Iman Shumpert tore the ACL in his left knee on the same day as Derrick Rose last April 28. While Rose continues to work on his recovery, Shumpert returned to game action on Jan. 17 and played in his 41st game of the season on Thursday.
The major difference, of course, is Rose usually carries the Bulls, while Shumpert is a defensive specialist who averages 20 minutes per game.
"I think with that type of injury, everybody's different, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game. "Shumpert's done a great job for them. You can see he's gotten a lot healthier since he first came back.
"You hate to see anyone go down with that type of injury, but each player's different. I think it's important to give them the time they need to get comfortable and get back on the floor."
Thibodeau was optimistic about the two other players left on the Bulls' injured list -- Joakim Noah (plantar faciitis) and Taj Gibson (left knee sprain). Noah spent a long time shooting around before Thursday's contest.
"We're hopeful. I think we have guys moving in he right direction," Thibodeau said. "Taj is getting real close. Jo is much improved, so hopefully we'll have everybody by the end."
'Melo mentions Rose:
Maybe Carmelo Anthony is biased, since he was talking about a rival. But Anthony weighed in on the Derrick Rose injury wait at shootaround on Thursday morning.
"I wish y'all would stop rushing Derrick back," Anthony said. "Please. He shouldn't come back until he's about 110 percent ready. If he can't compete at a high level, then what's a couple more months going to do? What's two more months going to do? I don't think he should come back, and that's just my opinion.
"I really don't know where he's at with his rehab and stuff like that, but I feel bad for him because I know he's got to deal with that every day, he's got to deal with that question. And nobody really knows on the outside what he's really going through, what his body is going through. So until he's 100 percent right, I would hope he would sit out."