Mike Brown defends Tom Thibodeau on how he played Derrick Rose

Chicago guard Derrick Rose sat there on the United Center court wincing with the pain of an ACL tear in his left knee. It sent shock waves through the Bulls, who suddenly look vulnerable as the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed despite picking up a 103-91 Game 1 victory Saturday over the Philadelphia 76ers. The injury, which will likely sideline Rose for the rest of the playoffs, was a reminder to other NBA teams of how unpredictable events determine success more endless preparation.

Yet Lakers Coach Mike Brown defended Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau for playing Rose as Chicago led by 12 with 1:20 remaining.

“Anything can happen in a short amount of time,” Brown said Sunday before the Lakers-Nuggets game at Staples Center. “I’ve been around a few instances where the tide has changed less than 10 seconds. There is a paranoia that most coaches have. I thought what Coach Thibs did was the right thing.”

Brown has faced similar issues with his team.


He soon earned the nickname, “All Day, Every Day” for his prolonged practice and film schedules. Despite Brown’s hope that Kobe Bryant would log 33 to 35 minutes this season, he averaged 38.5 minutes per game and even admitted last month that fatigue had caught up to him. And despite the Lakers playing in 10 games that featured either comfortable leads or wide deficits, Brown only gave extended rest to Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in five of those contests.

Brown tapped his head as a figurative knock-on-wood gesture in hopes the Lakers’ relative health stays intact in the postseason. Bynum only missed a game because of a sprained left ankle, while Matt Barnes sat out the season finale because of a sprained right ankle. Steve Blake missed 13 games from January to early February because of a rib-sternum injury. And Bryant sat out for seven games to rest a sore left shin.

But Rose’s episode doesn’t make Brown change his thinking on how to limit starters’ minutes. He said he is “probably tightening a little bit more” even though Metta World Peace is serving a six-game suspension and Denver boasts the league’s top bench in the league.

“A lot of it is based on feel,” Brown said about managing minutes. “You’re trying to win.”


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Mike Brown defends Tom Thibodeau on how he played Derrick Rose