NBA No. 1 Derrick Rose makes his US Airways debut.
From the January 26, 2009, morning paper: "Leading by as many as 16 in the first quarter and shooting 57.6 percent through three quarters, the team collapsed down the stretch by shooting 8-for-29."
The quote isn't about one of the Phoenix Suns' recent screw-ups. It hails from the Chicago Tribune, and refers to the Bulls' nausea-inducing overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves the previous night.
Derrick Rose, the Bulls' rookie point guard and the NBA's reigning No. 1 overall pick, pulled a real Homer Simpson-style doh! against the T-Wolves. With 23 seconds remaining in regulation, Rose dumbly dribbled down the clock instead of passing off to cutting teammate Ben Gordon as the play from head coach Vinny Del Negro prescribed. This sort of dunderhead move has defined the '08-'09 Bulls.
Said the Bulls skipper and former Suns player/broadcaster, dryly: "The execution [wasn't] what it should've been."
Welcome to our world, Vinny. We feel your pain.
The team that stumbles least will likely win when the Bulls and Suns meet in Phoenix on Saturday night at US Airways Center.
Luckily for struggling Planet Orange, these aren't the same Bulls Phoenix encountered back on November 7 in Chicago, when Rose, Gordon, and company easily dispatched the Suns, 100-83. Shaq was on one of his overnight R&R leaves, Steve Nash was limited by foul trouble to 24 minutes and six points, and young Rose -- in an early-season showcase game -- brought the Chi-Town crowd to its feet with a nasty dunk on Leandro Barbosa.
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These days, the Bulls are questioning their coach, themselves, and their core philosophy -- which has proven to be a clunky, unsynchronized Frankenstein monster of blazing speed (Rose, Gordon) versus the half-court boat anchors of forward Luol Deng and center Joakim Noah.
May the least-worst team win.
Tip is at 7 p.m. See www.nba.com/suns. TV: FSN AZ. Radio: KTAR-AM 620.