Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Chicago Bulls [Print without images]

Friday, November 16, 2012
Rose may attend Saturday's game in LA

By Nick Friedell

Chris Paul
Chris Paul and the Clippers recently beat the Heat at Staples Center.
LOS ANGELES -- Derrick Rose may be in attendance Saturday night when the Chicago Bulls face off against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said he had spoken to Rose as he continues his rehab program in the Los Angeles area. Rose is still recovering from a torn left ACL he suffered on April 28 in the first game of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers.

"The main focus for him is his rehab," Thibodeau said before Friday morning's shoot-around on the UCLA campus. "So that's what he's (doing).

"We felt it was best for him to be in one place doing his rehab. As I mentioned the other day, he started cutting and stuff so he's doing fine, everything's going according to plan. He just has to keep doing what he's doing. All I want his focus to be on is his rehab. I don't want him concerned with where we are with the team or anything like that. He's doing fine; and I want our guys here to be focused on improvement and our next opponent."

Challenge against the Clippers: Thibodeau knows his team is up for a major test Saturday night. The Clippers come into the game with a 6-2 mark and just knocked off the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.

"They're explosive," Thibodeau said. "When your leading scorer's coming off the bench it says a lot. (Jamal) Crawford's playing great for them, but obviously their depth is a huge asset. Six guys averaging double figures, well balanced, (Blake) Griffin and (DeAndre) Jordan put a lot of pressure on you inside and they're skilled ... we got to be ready for the challenge."

Thibodeau is hoping his defense will be up to the challenge against a very fast lineup.

"Chris Paul, (Eric) Bledsoe, Crawford, (those) guys are going to put a lot of pressure on your defense because of their ability to break you down off the dribble," he said. "And then their ability to finish inside, but it's well balanced. They're moving the ball, they're playing with great pace, so you have to get back, get your defense set, try to keep the ball out of the paint, challenge shots, and then you've got to finish your defense. You got to rebound, they're tough on the offensive boards as well."

The last word: Taj Gibson, who went to school at USC in Los Angeles, on the reception he's gotten since signing his contract extension two weeks ago:

"It's kind of a strange feeling. I'm more surprised with how people are acting towards it, because normally in the NBA you really don't see a lot of guys getting congratulations from other players. A lot of players tend to be angry towards one another, but it's been all good. It's been all positive. Everybody I see has been positive. All the players around the city. It's been great, a great response."