- Jon Greenberg, Columnist, ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- With the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference locked up, the Chicago Bulls sat Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Kyle Korver for the regular-season finale against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau called it "maintenance" for all three players, citing schedule concerns as well. The Bulls won at Indiana on Wednesday and open the playoffs Saturday at home, possibly in the early afternoon.
Thibodeau had intimated that he would field a starting lineup for the game, considering the starters had only played 15 games together in the injury-filled 66-game season. But as he likes to do, Thibodeau changed his mind.
"I wanted to see how we were looking, in terms of I felt good about the things that were happening out there," Thibodeau said before Thursday's game. "Just taking everything into consideration, I think this is the best thing right now."
Rose's iron man streak ended at two games. He hasn't played more than two in a row since injuring his foot against the New York Knicks on March 12. He missed 12 in a row and has played in 5 of 10 since coming back on April 8.
Thibodeau said he liked what he saw from Rose in the Bulls' 92-87 win over Indiana. Rose scored 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting, and added seven assists, in 27 minutes. He showed more of his familiar drives to the basket, even if he didn't always finish.
Rose warmed up before the game and looked good, mostly shooting jumpers.
"He's feeling really good, his explosiveness is back, so that was a big part of (sitting him), yeah," Thibodeau said.
Before the game, the Bulls didn't know if they had homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs, or whom their first-round opponent would be, New York or Philadelphia.
"We're not concerned about records, seedings or standings," Thibodeau said. "We're just concerned about doing the right things each and every day. And we feel the results will take care of themselves."
Tom Thibodeau said the reason the Bulls sat Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Kyle Korver was for "maintenance."