Report: Tension between Bulls' Butler and Rose hindered postseason run
Trailing by 14 at halftime, Chicago needed a concerted second-half effort from its core if they hoped to prolong the series and force a do-or-die Game 7 at Quicken Loans Arena. That didn't happen, though, as the Bulls scored an anemic 29 points on 28.9 percent shooting in the final 12 minutes.
Former NBA MVP Derrick Rose, who scored 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting in the opening quarter, was a complete afterthought for the remainder of the game, scoring just four points the rest of the way.
Instead of taking over the game like he's done in the past, Rose became passive-aggressive, stepping out of the spotlight and allowing Butler to shoulder more of the offense.
Rose's stoic demeanor was reportedly "the culmination of tensions building in recent weeks with Butler’s emergence as a primary scorer."
Butler, the 2015 NBA Most Improved Player finished with a team-high 20 points on 8-of-22 shooting in 43 minutes of action.
With the loss ending Chicago's season, Rose picked the worst time to struggle offensively and not be the superstar he needed to be. There's only so much basketball to go around, but that doesn't justify the Bulls' floor general fading into the abyss.
This reported tension may blow over in due time, but if it doesn't, Chicago will have two disgruntled guards aching to control the basketball in the coming years.