Even though they’re guaranteed to make the playoffs, the Chicago Bulls aren’t going to take it easy on the still-fighting Nets.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who has played just 59 games in the last three seasons while battling severe knee injuries, is expected to play “four segments” and that he could break past 28 minutes:
Hinrich out vs. Nets. Rose will play 4 segments and his minutes could increase slightly from the 28 he played vs. 76ers.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) April 13, 2015
The 2011 NBA MVP, Rose has struggled to return to that lofty form, has averaged 18.1 points and 5.0 assists in 30.6 minutes per game in 49 games this season, shooting 40.5 percent from the field. Rose most recently missed 20 consecutive games, and in the three games since has played 19, 20, and 28 minutes. On Saturday, Rose scored 22 points, dished out eight assists, and grabbed eight rebounds without turning the ball over.
A win for the Bulls would lock them into at least the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, with third seed still in reach. A loss would leave the door open for them to fall to fifth seed, losing home-court advantage.
Additionally, Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich will not play tonight, according to Tim Bontemps of the New York Post.
No Kirk Hinrich for the Bulls tonight.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) April 13, 2015
Hinrich suffered a hyperextended knee in early April that caused him to miss two games, and he’s played only limited time since. He has averaged 5.7 points and 2.2 assists in 24.4 minutes per game this season, starting 22 of 66 games.