Hamstring injury no concern to Bulls, Rose
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This may change over time, but for now there is no such thing as a minor Derrick Rose injury.
Rose got the best of Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving, and the Bulls used a late surge to finish off a 96-81 victory over the Cavaliers on Monday night at the United Center.
But it was tough to ignore that moment with 3:15 remaining in the contest when coach Tom Thibodeau called timeout specifically to get Rose off the floor.
The reason was a hamstring injury that all parties insisted was minor. It seemed to happen when Rose exploded through the Cleveland defense for a fastbreak bucket with 3:39 left. The Cavs called timeout, and when play resumed, the Bulls decided Rose shouldn't be on the floor.
"There was a play where somebody knocked the ball out of bounds and they said I wasn't moving good enough to be out on the court, so they subbed me out," Rose said in the locker room.
He sat out the final three minutes, finishing with 16 points, 7 assists and no turnovers. The Bulls improved to 3-3 with their second straight victory and the hope is Rose will get better during a three-day break before playing Friday at Toronto.
"I should be (playing in Toronto)," Rose said. "It's nothing big at all. I'm still able to walk around, move around the way I want to. It's just a little sore."
Thibodeau agreed with Rose's worry-free assessment.
"He tweaked it," Thibodeau said. "He'll be re-evaluated tomorrow. We'll have more information then. It appears to be minor."
With Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils watching from the seats, all three of the Bulls' former Duke players scored in double figures. Carlos Boozer led the way with 17 points, while Mike Dunleavy finished with a season-high 15 and Luol Deng added 12.
A Dunleavy 3-pointer ignited a 13-2 run that stretched the Bulls' lead from 3 points to 14, even with Rose on the bench for part of the time.
"It had to be on the drive (with 3:29 left)," Rose said of his injury. "Stuff happens. I just have to play through it and get back healthy. If I knew (exactly how it happened), I would tell you. I don't know if it was while I was running down the court or right when I took off. I don't know. I was too caught up in the play."
Rose expressed some frustration when he left the game but insisted it wasn't the injury itself that had him upset.
"I think (it was) more coming out of the game," he said. "I just love being in those type of situations, playing against a great young team, and I wanted to be out there, but I had to wait."
Irving scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half and hit just 5 of 19 shots. The 2011 No. 1 overall draft pick didn't get on the board until hitting 2 free throws with 1:36 left in the first half.
"It's really not me. It's really the team," Rose said of the defensive effort. "One person can't beat our team. That's the way our defense is. I know I've got all my guys behind me, I can play as aggressive as I want to. It really wasn't me going out there and trying to play him a certain way. We did it as a team."
The Bulls led by 13 midway through the third quarter. Cleveland pulled within 68-67 early in the fourth on an Irving 3-pointer but never took the lead down the stretch.
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