Rose on fire: Bulls 98, Rockets 88

I think the Bulls are starting to take this stretch run pretty seriously.

After losing 10 games in a row, they’ve won two straight. After 12 consecutive games of allowing 100 or more points, they’ve allowed 92, 84 and 88 in their last three. Coach Vinny Del Negro got so fired up over a few iffy calls during last night’s home game against the Rockets that he rushed out on the court and got himself ejected. Mind you, the Bulls were leading by 10 at the time.

Said Del Negro: “I have to do a better job staying in the game, but sometimes you have to get your team going and let them know the importance of this stuff. I have a lot of confidence in my staff and I know the players, Kirk is a coach on the floor, Derrick Rose, so I felt comfortable. I just thought we needed to get a little bit of a fair shake at times.”

I guess Vinny learned his lesson from the Kirk Hinrich incident.

You know who else was fired up? Derrick freaking Rose. Man, this dude has been on fire the last two games. Against Houston, Rose finished with game highs in points (27) and assists (8) and even added 7 rebounds and a blocked shot. He was also fantastic in the fourth quarter, going 5-for-5 from the field (including a three-pointer) and dishing out a couple assists. The only blight on his clutch performance was bricking two free throws with 43 seconds left and the Bulls leading by only six points (92-86).

Still…Derrick was awesome.

Said Rose: “I have to give it all I got. Tomorrow we don’t play so, why not give it your all?”

Regarding Rose, Houston’s Shane Battier said: “If there is a weakness in his game it would be his consistency on his shot. He got 27 and it was pretty much all jump shots from the elbow or 3-pointers. He gets those down and that’s why he’s an All-Star.”

Battier isn’t wrong. Rose did most of his damage from 16 feet and out. He was feeling so confident in his jump shot that he attempted a career-high seven three-pointers. His previous career high was six attempts…last Saturday against the Sixers. Prior to the last two games, Rose had never attempted for than five threes in a game — and that happened during the first month of his rookie season — and he hadn’t taken more than two in any game this season.

Seriously, if Derrick starts canning threes with regularity, how will anyone be able to stop him?

Anyway, it was a big win for the Bulls. Of course, the Rockets were without their defensive stopper, Shane Battier, who sprained his left knee against the Knicks on Sunday. They also lost Jared Jeffries (who strained his left Achilles tendon in the third quarter) and rookie Jordan Hill (who sprained his left ankle early in the fourth). So Chicago had at least a little good fortune going their way in this victory.

I think they’ll take it. The Bulls have had their share of misfortune lately.

Extras:
Recap, Box Score, Advanced Box Score, Play-By-Play, Shot Chart, Photos

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13 Responses to Rose on fire: Bulls 98, Rockets 88

  1. doubleaccord@gmail.com'
    Tony C. March 23, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    I generally don’t expend energy complaining about officiating, but it is truly outrageous that the league allow Scola to get away with his blatant flopping. Seriously – the league should review his play (I don’t mean just the Bulls game) and he should be warned. Then, if he keeps it up, he should be given technical fouls every time he obviously flops.

    In 2008 the NBA announced that it would impose fines on players who show a clear case of flopping, and suspensions for repeat offenders. Where’s the enforcement?

  2. bahrani@uchicago.edu'
    Mahmoud March 23, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    I think it’s startling, and actually, a little bit disturbing, how much different this team looks when DRose is on the floor. You take Kobe from the Lakers, or DWade from the Heat, sure, they’re not going to be anywhere as good, but the team doesn’t collapse like the Bulls did.

    Also, I get kind of worried when athletic point guards who can get to the hoop whenever they want start taking too many threes. I know Derrick’s a smart guy and will continue to attack the hoop, and I don’t think the three pointer should be anything except a facilitator in that respect.

    You know who else did good last night? Vinny. I was with everyone at the start with the whole, fire Vinny thing (especially after one particular game, I can’t remember which, where the Bulls could not inbound the ball to Derrick). But the way Vinny defended his guys last night was great, you could see after that that the players were fired up. And if nothing else, Vinny got a collection of players that resemble an above average college team to play their hearts out and take a bunch of teams (Cavs, in particular) to the fourth quarter. I think Vinny deserves a lot of credit for the team not losing hope and still playing hard during the stretch, and he’s gotten just exponentially better since the beginning of the year. He’s not the best coach in the league, no, but he’s definitely not the worst by any stretch of the imagination.

  3. m_nazabal@yahoo.com'
    Max March 23, 2010 at 3:15 pm #

    Why is it that everyone complains no matter what. If he shoots to many jump shots he is not being aggressive and if he drives to much he is being reckless,why not just watch this special kid develop into a Elite Player. The Bulls will get a top Free Agent and This team will get much better. I have been a Bulls fan all my life and I know I was spoiled for the 90’s. I see hope for the first time since Jordan and Pippen left. I’m not going to complain like the rest of you people do. I am just going to enjoy watching D.Rose grow before my eyes and feel lucky to see a player like him again.

  4. bscholtens@hotmail.com'
    Brad S. March 23, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    Max, I can understand your point, and perhaps it is “nit-picking” to be worried about D-Rose taking so many threes for the last few games. However, should we just sit in front of our “boob-tubes” and lamely consume the product without disecting and questioning what we see? That would be like taking politicians at their word, …or being a Cubs fan.

    Don’t get me wrong, you are right that what Derrick is doing is fantastic. We should be impressed and grateful for his efforts. We should cut him some slack about his shot selection in a couple of games back after sustaining a wrist injury. Perhaps he is a little more hesitant to go to the hoop with reckless abandon since he knows his team cannot make the play-offs if he gets hurt again.

    However, great jump-shooters do not make great franchise players. There are, of course, exceptions but they are much better suited for being the 2nd or 3rd peice of a great team. This year we need Derrick Rose to be better than that. …And he is capable of being great. So forgive us if sometimes we worry.

  5. tester123xyz@hotmail.com'
    bobbysimmons March 23, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

    Will I have to eat my words? Great point Mahmoud, the Bulls are completely different teams with and without Rose. Without him they’re probably on par with the Nets, with him they can challenge the top teams in the league. Another point to be made is that I’ve never seen a player progress so quickly as Rose has this year. When the season began and he couldn’t hit a shot, people said he wouldn’t be a star. Then he got his legs under him and started to play better, then he began hitting the mid range jumper with consistency, now he’s taking 3’s, really the sky is the limit. In the off season, he’ll probably shore up his shot and work on his ball handling skills, with all that I’m estimating his avg stat line next year to be: 24ppg-7apg, shooting over 50% from the field. He is on the road to becoming a top 5 player in this league. Players right now who more valuable than D Rose right now, taking age into consideration: Lebron, Howard, Durant, Melo, Paul, that’s it.

    Put Bosh beside him, we’re a championship contender. As for the Bulls making the playoffs, it’s actually looking more hopeful now, I wasn’t expecting Rose to come back with a vengeance. I was the one claiming it there was no chance, but I have to take that back. I have no respect for Toronto, and the Bulls have a lot of winnable games on their sched. On a side note, if Bosh stays in Toronto that’d be foolish if he wants to win a title. He may join Wade in Miami, but honestly I think Rose is a better match for him. Hopefully we don’t screw this up.

  6. PTFC March 23, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

    “I think it’s startling, and actually, a little bit disturbing, how much different this team looks when DRose is on the floor. You take Kobe from the Lakers, or DWade from the Heat, sure, they’re not going to be anywhere as good, but the team doesn’t collapse like the Bulls did.”

    1. You take away Wade from the Heat and they are the Miami Nets and would collapse.

    2. Take away Kobe and the Lakers still have an allstar in Gasol and above average and potential allstars in Odom and Bynum. On top of that they have a legendary coach in Phil.

    The Bulls collapsed because they lost all 3 of their best players, not just one. A little different.

  7. handkuft@yahoo.com'
    GotNext March 23, 2010 at 5:43 pm #

    was it just me or did Hakeem Warrick get a defensive rebound last night??

  8. TJ March 23, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

    Of course the Bulls are on par with the Nets without Rose/Noah. They are a bunch of expiring contracts and rookies. I’m actually proud that they only lost by 10 points in each of those last few games in the road trip without DRose/Deng/Noah.

    As far as Rose taking those 3s, he is certainly developing. He couldn’t hit a jumper last year and now he is next to automatic. Those 3s are the next step in the maturation process. His Airness started in the league cutting/slashing like rose and slowly developed his perimeter game. It’s good that Rose gets comfortable with taking 3s this season where nothing really matters, so when we get a max free agent at his side, he will be so much better.

    I’m not a fan of Vinny, but I got to say that the man took a team or expring contracts and young talent to the playoffs, then after losing their main scoring threat in the offseason, is still able to do it again. I’d’ve prefered D’Antoni, but hey, if he can sneak us into a number 7 seed an give us a great series against Howard & Co, I’d be happy.

  9. denksucks March 23, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

    Brad S. what the hell are you talking about? Cut rose for his shot selection after a wrist injury? He was 9/16 in one game and 12/22 in the next, that is 21/38. That is 55% you shoot that, you can shoot anywhere you like. Remember Jordan, he was a pretty good jump shooter too. If you are going to question what you see, question the rest of the team, not rose.

  10. bullsbythehorns@gmail.com'
    Matt McHale March 23, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    “I generally don’t expend energy complaining about officiating, but it is truly outrageous that the league allow Scola to get away with his blatant flopping. Seriously – the league should review his play (I don’t mean just the Bulls game) and he should be warned. Then, if he keeps it up, he should be given technical fouls every time he obviously flops.”

    I agree completely…but there’s not much that can be done about it. The refs make the judgement call, and it’s usually wrong.

    “Also, I get kind of worried when athletic point guards who can get to the hoop whenever they want start taking too many threes. I know Derrick’s a smart guy and will continue to attack the hoop, and I don’t think the three pointer should be anything except a facilitator in that respect.”

    You know, I felt the same way earlier this season when Derrick started to fall in love with that little floater. I think the kid’s working hard and still trying to unlock all the facets of his game. He’s clearly been working on his three-point shooting and is now experimenting with them. I’ve gotten the opportunity to watch him practice his shooting up close, and Rose is like a machine. You can tell he’s developed his jumper, and it continues to improve. And I think he’s shown the ability to develop abiities (like the pull up) that allow him to either drive or get to the rim. What we’re watching (I hope) is the natural growth and maturation process of a superstar.

    “You know who else did good last night? Vinny. I was with everyone at the start with the whole, fire Vinny thing (especially after one particular game, I can’t remember which, where the Bulls could not inbound the ball to Derrick). But the way Vinny defended his guys last night was great, you could see after that that the players were fired up. And if nothing else, Vinny got a collection of players that resemble an above average college team to play their hearts out and take a bunch of teams (Cavs, in particular) to the fourth quarter. I think Vinny deserves a lot of credit for the team not losing hope and still playing hard during the stretch, and he’s gotten just exponentially better since the beginning of the year. He’s not the best coach in the league, no, but he’s definitely not the worst by any stretch of the imagination.”

    I have noticed that when Vinny makes a very obvious mistake, he attempts to rectify it the next time it comes up. Like last year in the playoffs when he ran the team out of timeouts. He’s much more careful with his TO management now. Vinny didn’t take control of a volatile situation a couple weeks ago and Kirk got ejected and suspended. This time, Del Negro stepped in.

    As with Derrick, we’re watching Vinny’s gradual maturation as a coach. He’s still got problems, but I think he definitely has shown improvement. Enough improvement to save his job? I have no idea.

    “Why is it that everyone complains no matter what. If he shoots to many jump shots he is not being aggressive and if he drives to much he is being reckless,why not just watch this special kid develop into a Elite Player.”

    I think complaints — regarding the team or teams you root for — are usually a sign of concern or fear. Like, the fear that you team is never going to become a contender again, or that your star player may never be able to carry a team like the all-time greats do.

    I know I worry about things like shot selection and on-court decision making. But whereas I felt that Tyrus was a lost cause (at least on this team), I really do believe Derrick’s a smart kid who’s maturing and developing his game. Even when he takes a lot of jumpers, he usually is taking wide open shots we all know he can make. He very rarely forces anything (ala Ben Gordon).

    “However, great jump-shooters do not make great franchise players. There are, of course, exceptions but they are much better suited for being the 2nd or 3rd peice of a great team. This year we need Derrick Rose to be better than that. …And he is capable of being great. So forgive us if sometimes we worry.”

    I agree, which is why we didn’t build around Gordon. Not to keep repeating myself, but I see this upsurge in threes the same way I regard the many floaters he started taking a while back. Right now, the court is Rose’s laboratory and he’s using it to experiment with his game while at the same time being completely devoted to winning. I don’t think we’ll see him become only a jump shooter.

    “As for the Bulls making the playoffs, it’s actually looking more hopeful now, I wasn’t expecting Rose to come back with a vengeance. I was the one claiming it there was no chance, but I have to take that back. I have no respect for Toronto, and the Bulls have a lot of winnable games on their sched.”

    It’s going to be a real battle, but Rose seems locked in. Even if the Bulls don’t make the playoffs, I like what I’m seeing out of him. It will help going forward.

    “was it just me or did Hakeem Warrick get a defensive rebound last night??”

    Yeah, one in about 15 minutes of PT. Not exactly what you want out of a PF.

    “Of course the Bulls are on par with the Nets without Rose/Noah. They are a bunch of expiring contracts and rookies. I’m actually proud that they only lost by 10 points in each of those last few games in the road trip without DRose/Deng/Noah.”

    I agree. I was expecting at least one truly ugly blowout in that stretch, but the Bulls competed. I think it helped that the teams they played against — Dallas and Cleveland at the very least — didn’t appear to go full tilt. But the balls out attitude was impressive. Credit Vinny and the players for sure.

  11. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath March 23, 2010 at 10:47 pm #

    It hit me last night. I, too, was startled by the vitality of this team with Rose in the line-up. The best way I can describe Rose is when he takes a step forward, he stays there. He is always building on his success. I remember earlier in the year, when teams were trying to contain him early in the set. I was worried. I thought, “Oh no. The damn video has turned against us and now they know how to guard him.” He took the challenge and took it to the next level (and stayed there). He keeps raising his foundation and still flexes up amazingly into places that drop our jaws. Hello? He is a very good passer. That one dribble-drive, where the whole defense collapsed (had to, he was happening so fast) and Murray was in the corner, waiting for a cab and buried the open three. It was a beautiful drive and swing pass. I don’t think he is going to get six or seven rebounds a game consistently, but he will be nine to eleven assists chiseled in stone by next year with not too many assumptions. Lastly, as for the three pointers, no one needs to talk anything bad about Rose taking threes. He deserves all the credit in the WORLD for not throwing up threes all year, especially considering how much we needed those three balls. From what I saw, he fully understood what his success rate would be and kept himself in check and took another dribble to step into shorter jumpers and drives. Are we not always yelling at the Al Harringtons of the world to keep the threes in their pants? It appears to me that he has done a good job of folding the team’s success with his own at an early stage.

    (side note: Taj MaBal really deserves some kind of award for playing hurt ALMOST THE ENTIRE YEAR and it really only showed when the team started to thin out and he did not have much help. Much respect to that kid.)

  12. bob.edwards47@yahoo.com'
    Boppinbob March 24, 2010 at 3:45 am #

    Rose is becoming the complete offensive player. To become an elite player he now has to focus on his assists and his defense. Defensively he needs to play better team defense, he does not need to be a defensive stopper. D. Rose is proving to me that he will be an elite player. Once he starts contributing consistently on the defensive end he will be scary for opponents.

    I know I am beating a dead horse, but I really want to see what Acie Law and Joe Alexander can do with 15 to 20 minutes of play for 3 or 4 games. The Bulls have a lot of decisions to make in this off season. Who to retain is bunch of them. I have seen what Pargo, Warrick, Richard, Murray, and Brown can do. I am impressed with Murray and Warrick to fill role player positions in the future. Pargo, Richard and Brown should be gone. I am not sure that Jerome James will ever play another minute in the NBA, I am sure it will not be with the Bulls, bye bye Jerome. I would like to see Brad Miller back as the third center or as a coach for the “big men”. Before the end of the season the Bulls should find out what Law and Alexander can do with significant playing time.

    I consider Rose, Hinrich, Deng, Noah, Gibson, Johnson, Miller, and Murray as the core of the Bulls going into the draft and free agency. Warrick is a possible. It would be nice to know what Law and Alexander can do on court before the Bulls let them go.

  13. gobulls76@hotmail.com'
    bullsfan76 March 24, 2010 at 9:48 pm #

    boppinbob when rose was out law played very well in my opinion they should deff bring him back…. as for alexander we can let him go.

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