Road Trip Thoughts: On Rose’s homecoming, LaVine’s night, and “Math Watch”

Derrick Rose returned to his hometown of Chicago and put on a show in Minnesota’s 119-94 win on Wednesday night. Rose is still beloved in Chicago after spending the first eight years (seven seasons), including an MVP season and taking the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011. Rose’s highest moments – and some lows – came as a member of the Bulls. When his career is over, that’s how he’s going to be remembered.

Even if it was for just a night and in a different uniform, Rose was back in the United Center like old times. He finished with 24 points on 11-of-19 shooting to go along with eight assists and a pair of steals.

In the fourth quarter Rose even stepped to the foul line after the game had essentially been decided and was showered with chants of “MVP” as he took free throws.

Those things are great for the story of Rose and his comeback from numerous injuries to be a good NBA player once again.

The bad about this night for Rose is that he was on the court for 38 minutes. A quick glance at Rose’s game logs for the season shows that he’s played 38 or more minutes on three occasions prior to the win against Chicago. Following each of those long nights, Rose has either completely missed the next game or been ruled out early due to injury.

It happened last week as Rose played 38 minutes in the loss to Detroit. Rose then didn’t play in the second half against the Spurs in the very next game before missing the win over Oklahoma City on Sunday night.

The other times it happened came in the when over Brooklyn on Nov. 12 followed by being inactive for a game against the Pelicans. The other instance on Rose’s 50-point explosion that saw him play nearly 41 minutes. He then played just four minutes in the next game before leaving with an injury and missing the game that followed.

Rose’s minutes cannot be this high, especially in December games. It’s one thing if this team is battling for a playoff spot – or positioning – in March or April, but not now. If this continues, the likelihood of Rose staying healthy throughout the rest of the season decreases, and that’s something Minnesota absolutely cannot afford.

Tough shooting for Covington and Wiggins

When the Bulls visited Target Center in late November both Andrew Wiggins and Robert Covington had a tough night shooting. Wiggins finished a scoreless night with an 0-for-12 mark from the floor while Covington was able to get four points on the board thanks to a 1-of-18 shooting effort.

It was easily the worst game of the season for both of them. Things were better for both of them this time around against Chicago, but not by much.

Wiggins finished with 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting after a rough first half that saw him go 2-of-10 from the floor. Both he and Wiggins will be happy to not see the Bulls again until next season.

Roster crossover

This note from ESPN Stats & Info and Malika Andrews is incredible.

Yes, you’re reading that correctly. The Wolves had the same number of active players on Wednesday night drafted by Chicago as drafted by Minnesota. The Bulls had more players drafted by Minnesota active than they did drafted by Chicago. Absolutely remarkable.

Math Watch™1

This gets talked about quite a bit here at 1500ESPN.com and Raised by Wolves, so it’s going to be a recurring thing now. Introducing: Math Watch™!

It’s no secret that the Wolves do not like to take as many 3-pointers as most other teams in the NBA. It’s also no secret that a 3-pointer is worth more than a 2-pointer, so the Wolves are not only constantly fighting a battle with the opponent, but also mathematical logic.

The win against Chicago marked the ninth time that the Wolves made more 3-pointers than their opponent. They’re now 7-2 in those games. When they make the same number of threes or fewer, the Wolves are 9-16 on the season.

It doesn’t take a math wizard to figure that out.

LaVine looking for revenge

It’s no secret that Chicago’s Zach LaVine is a former member of the Wolves. He was dealt to Chicago as part of the package that acquired Jimmy Butler during the summer of 2017.

It’s also no secret that guys tend to play a bit harder – or better – against teams they have some type of history with. Earlier this season, LaVine had 28 points against the Wolves at Target Center.

He replicated that effort on Wednesday night as he once again scored 28 points against his former squad.

The only negative here is that it was LaVine’s first game back from a left ankle sprain that was supposed to have him out for approximately two-to-four weeks.

That was one week ago. LaVine missed five games due to the sprain and only a little more than a week. He rushed back to get on the floor to play against his former team. While he was able to play relatively well, there was no doubt that he didn’t look right while doing it.

Understanding a player wanting to put on a show against a franchise that didn’t want him, and rushing back from injury to do so is one thing, but the organization letting him do that is another story. The Bulls had no business allowing LaVine to play on Wednesday. What do they have to gain from him being on the floor while hurt? Very few positives can come out of it, and it’s far more likely he re-injures himself and misses more time.

Like earlier with Rose, if the team is trying to battle for a playoff spot late in the season, that’s one thing, but the only thing the Bulls are fighting for this season is ping pong balls in May’s NBA Draft Lottery. This was a bone-headed move by the current laughing stock of the NBA.

1Math Watch™ is not actually trademarked, just let us have fun.