Chicago Bulls: Tom Thibodeau Was Right to Bench Derrick Rose

James DavisAnalyst IApril 13, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls talks with head coach Tom Thibodeau during a game  at American Airlines Arena on January 29, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

If you were to glance at the box score of the most recent contest between the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat, you would scratch your head in wonder as you try to figure out how Chicago won with Derrick Rose only contributing two points and hitting one shot out of 13 attempts.

Of course, the enormous effort and energy from the Bulls’ players outside of Rose were big factors in their second win over the Heat, but a great deal of credit also goes to head coach Tom Thibodeau, who made some great coaching decisions during the game.

The biggest and most beneficial decision of that contest was the benching of Derrick Rose for most of the fourth quarter and the entire overtime period.

It’s not an uncommon occurrence for the Bulls to win without Rose in the lineup. They are 17-6 in the games that he has missed.

However, when he does play, most fans are used to seeing Rose makeup for his teammates’ shortcomings, not the other way around.

Thibodeau gave Rose every opportunity to get things going; Rose played 25 minutes and started the first and third quarters.

When Rose was in, the Bulls' scoring differential was -27 and Miami was able to build up a lead at the beginning of each half, threatening to steal a win in Chicago and tighten the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

After seeing nothing good come from playing his star guard, Thibodeau made the right call and sat Rose in favor of C.J. Watson and other key Bulls reserves. They rose up to the occasion, erasing Miami’s third-quarter lead and eventually pulling out the win in overtime.

This only Rose’s second on-court appearance in past 14 games for Chicago.

He sat for 12 consecutive games before playing this past Sunday against the Knicks. After tweaking an ankle in that return contest, he sat out the next game two days later.

Rose, however, is not one to shy away from competition, especially against the team’s biggest obstacle to an NBA championship, so it was no surprise when it was announced that he would start against the Heat.

Thibodeau’s loyalty to Rose was evident as he tried to stick with his MVP even as Miami built a double-digit lead in the second half, but in the end a victory for the team was more important and Thibodeau went back to what was working for Chicago.

This was not a personal issue, but rather a decision that was made for the betterment of the team.

Rose understood that and knows that in the end, the success of the Bulls depends on their effort and accomplishment as a unit (via

In a sports media-age that pays more attention to teams with big stars who have even bigger egos, it’s refreshing to see the greater-good concept of Chicago play out well on a nationally televised game.

The culture of the Chicago Bulls franchise is one that is bound for good things if maintained, and it just may help propel them back to the top of the NBA mountain when the postseason comes.