Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose, Tom Thibodeau Shouldn't Call out Refs

Bob BajekAnalyst IIIDecember 30, 2011

The Chicago Bulls beat the Sacramento Kings 108-98 Thursday night, but Derrick Rose and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau complained about the NBA referees being hard on Rose.

During the game, Rose was constantly attacking the basket with strong drives and not drawing any fouls. He was getting elbowed, slammed, wacked and abused in every way you could imagine.

And how many free throws did the Bulls star get? Six.

That was less than the Kings power forward DeMarcus Cousins (eight) and point guard Tyreke Evans (12).

Rose hasn't been getting calls this year, as he went to the line zero times against the Los Angeles Lakers and four times against the Golden State Warriors.

Rose, who still had 19 points and eight assists, expressed his frustration after the game:

"I'm kind of mad," he said. "The refs got me messed up. Late in the game, it threw off my game a little bit."

Thibodeau was less diplomatic than Rose:

"He's got to drive with more force I guess. Sometimes I think him being such a nice guy goes against him too. He's driving the ball ... I think it's been [in the last two games] four free throws, six free throws, and he's attacking the basket. He's getting hit sometimes. We got to have him continue to do it and generate the force and force them to make the call, because right now he's not getting the call."

Not getting calls was something Rose had to deal with last year, as the NBA's MVP was 11th in free throws a game (6.9 attempts) even though Rose was attacking the basket every other play.

Both Thibodeau and Rose know better. The referees are not going to affect whether the Bulls will win or lose. Last year, the Bulls won 62 regular season games and two playoff series despite despite the lack of free throws for Rose.

Oh, and Rose went on to score 25 points and dish out 7.7 assists a game in route to the league MVP.

So far this year, the Bulls are 2-1 in a tough West Coast road trip and beat the Kings, clearly overcoming "poor" refereeing.

The refs were also blowing Rose for defensive fouls, slapping him with five total infractions that limited him to 32 minutes. However, point guard C.J. Watson came in and lit up the court with eight points, nine assists and no turnovers.

Watson proves the Bulls will be fine if Rose gets into foul trouble.

What should concern Rose and Thibodeau more is cleaning up on their passing efficiency (the Bulls have 52 turnovers in three games), rebounding and post defense.

Calls and non-calls are part of the game, but it's something Rose and the Bulls will overcome. Complaining to the referees will not change anything.

Rose and the Bulls need to let their play do the talking instead of criticizing refs.


Bob Bajek is a Featured Columnist for the Chicago Bulls. He is also a freelance reporter, and can be followed on and Twitter.