Derrick Rose steps way up: Bulls 101, Celtics 93

Nobody was stopping Derrick Rose last night. Nobody.

Nobody was stopping Derrick Rose last night. Nobody.

Talk about untimely and unwelcome distractions. Going into last night’s matchup with the Boston Celtics – only the biggest game of the season so far – reports surfaced that, after Chicago’s home loss to the Phoenix Suns on March 30, Bulls executive vice president John Paxson apparently grabbed coach Vinny Del Negro by the tie, jabbed him twice in the chest and challenged him to a fight.

These reports come from multiple sources.

The confrontation seems to have occurred because of “a narrow breach of a management-imposed minutes limit on injured forward Joakim Noah.” This certainly provides new perspective Vinny’s by-the-books approach to Jo’s minutes in Chicago’s recent loss to the New Jersey Nets. Sources say that Bulls have hired lawyers to interview witnesses about the incident.

Major drama. Shocking to say the least. It cast a dark cloud not only over last night’s game, but over the team’s future as well. What does this mean for Paxson’s future? Vinny’s? Will there be actual litigation? Will this effect Chicago’s hunt for a big name free agent? I suppose worse things could have happened at a worse time, but this simply boggles the mind.

Before the game, Vinny wouldn’t bite on the subject: “I’m not going to comment. I go about my job every day no matter what happens. I’m a competitor. I’ve been involved in the game a long time. I love the challenge of it. All the other things that happen pretty much stay internally.”

Say what you will about Del Negro the coach, but Del Negro the man seems almost unflappable. The dude has kept his cool during two seasons’ worth of rumors about his impending doom, and he apparently didn’t retaliate when his boss seemingly tried to bully him into a fight. And despite a season full of injuries — during which all management has done is take pieces off the board in an effort to save cash for this summer’s free agent bonanza — Vinny has his club on the verge of a playoff berth.

Seriously, Del Negro has done about everything anyone could possibly ask of him. And his boss may have tried to fight him over a player’s minutes. Unbelievable.

While this situation was brewing behind the scenes, the Bulls had to fight for their playoff lives against a team with their own agenda. The Celtics have been slumping and were on the brink of losing the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Boston coach Doc Rivers went with his starters and made a major push to win this game.

It didn’t matter. Derrick Rose wanted it more.

Rose stepped up to the challenge like a true superstar. You want impact: How about a career-high 39 points? You want efficiency: How about 15-for-22 shooting? You want aggressiveness: How about a game-high 10 free throw attempts. You want leadership: How about a game-best 7 assists. You want defense: How about a co-game-high 3 blocked shots.

Derrick did literally everything his sternest critics could have possibly asked him to do. To me, his effort was embodied by a couple sequences that happened just after the midway point of the second quarter. WIth 4:58 remaining, Rose went way up to block a jumper by Rajon Rondo and came away with the rebound. About a half-minute later, Derrick outjumped Kevin Garnett to rip down a rebound and threw a terrific outlet pass to Kirk Hinrich, whose layup was goaltended.

It’s hard to properly describe the intensity of those plays, which occurred during a big Bulls run. But they showed me that Rose was ready to step up to the biggest challenge of his pro career so far. It was an amazing thing to watch. I mean, Rose may be taking his game to a whole new level while we watch. Keep your eyes peeled, folks.

Speaking of stepping up, how ’bout Kirk Hinrich? Captain Kirk has taken his lumps for years, mostly because he’s overpaid. And you know nobody else in the NBA is overpaid, right? The first half of the last three or four seasons have featured so many Kirk-centric trade rumors that people have made top 10 lists about them.

His response has always been to just keep playing. He did that last night…in spades. Hinrich finished with a season-high 30 points, going 11-for-20 from the field and 4-for-7 from downtown. And Kirk hit two of the biggest shots of the game: a three-pointer with 1:15 left and then an 18-footer right before the shot clock went off on Chicago’s very next possession.

Those were huge, huge shots that stymied Boston’s rally attempt. Yet another example of Hinrich answering the call after being left for dead by a basketball public that’s obsessed with the size of his contract.

Rose scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, during which he almost fouled out Rondo and make an absolute mockery of Nate Robinson’s efforts to defend him. Hinrich had 10. That’s out of 34 total points.

While the Bulls’ starting backcourt was scoring 69 of the team’s 101 points, Joakim Noah (16 rebounds) and Luol Deng (12 boards) were cleaning the glass. Brad Miller was bumping bodies and committing hard fouls. And the Bulls, as a team, were taking another step toward locking up a playoff berth.

There’s more to be done, of course. Chicago’s magic number is one: One win tonight against the Bobcats in Charlotte, or one loss by the Raptors in Toronto against the Knicks. It’s a worrisome prospect. After all, the Bulls might be worn out after their win over the Celtics, while the Raptors get to play a lottery team at home.

I’m not going to bother to hope for Toronto to lose. Who wants their team to back into the playoffs? No, I’m going to hope Rose and the rest of the Bulls saved a little something for the Bobcats.

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

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25 Responses to Derrick Rose steps way up: Bulls 101, Celtics 93

  1. bscholtens@hotmail.com'
    Brad S. April 14, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    I don’t twitter and I almost never text but…

    OMFG!!!

    What an amazing game. The effort was palpable. The way guys were fighting for rebounds, closing out on shooters, and running the floor was terrific. And Derrick Rose…

    OMFG!!!

    Sometime I wonder about home town players. If they are really that good or if we see them through rose colored glasses. For instance, Rose scored 39 points. Ok, thats pretty good, but Nate Robinson has 41 in a game this year, so who’s better? But the degree of difficulty on almost every single one of Rose’s baskets was amazing.

    Great, great win. I could have only been better if I was able to hear Red call it instead of Reggie!

  2. mkp624@gmail.com'
    mkp April 14, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    You sure are right. These events shed light on VDN’s peculiar usage of Noah in the Nets game, and they immeasurably elevate Del Negro and lower Paxson in my book. It seems that Paxson interfered with Skiles’s work, too, no? I can’t imagine any free agent wanting to come work with Paxson and and the Tim Floyd protege, Norman.

  3. doubleaccord@gmail.com'
    Tony C. April 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    Excellent recap, Matt. I couldn’t agree more about Rose, and it was, in my view, an absolute breakout game for him defensively. He wanted the challenge on the defensive end, rather than going through the motions. Very exciting to watch; let’s hope he keeps that intensity up through the rest of the season…

  4. tylardurdan@gmail.com'
    Dutchboy April 14, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    Matt, if only you had a contact form on this blog so I could send you the 13 page Word doc with all references to bacon, the epic bacon/turkey bacon debate and some random stabs at Boozer from DDL after you left. It was like an hour and a half of DailyBaconLive. Oh, and something about Harper and Mahoney being BFF’s. And you missed this gem from Bethelem Shoals:
    “But what remains unexplored is the meaning of bacon in post hip hop NBA culture as a troubling signifier of America’s race problems.”

  5. PTFC April 14, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

    “Ok, thats pretty good, but Nate Robinson has 41 in a game this year, so who’s better?”

    The difference is DRose averages 20ppg game, Robinson does not. DRose is an allstar, Robinson is not. DRose can carry a team, Robinson can not.

    So when Rose scores 40, its a reminder and more proof that he is a furture superstar. When Robinson does it it’s a fluke.

  6. cavendish.lamore@gmail.com'
    Cavendish April 14, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    So players scuffle in practice and it’s just “intensity”. When it’s coaches and GM’s it’s deplorable?

    I’m in the BFD camp here. I’m happy my GM cares so much about the health of his players and how they are used while battling injury.

    And until VDN confirms there was actually a (real) threat of a fight, I say TorGTFO. It was probably a heated exchange ending in something like ‘If you do this again we’re gonna scrap’. W/E I like Noah cause he don’t take shiz and it’s the same reason I like Pax and VDN.

    Great win last night, at least we know they can still get up for BeanTown. Now let’s see’em do it for Charlotte.

  7. Anonymous April 14, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

    f-ing bulls brass, what a bunch of losers. They didn’t address stories of VDN being fired at the beginning of the year, they didn’t offer words of support for him when asked by the media. VDN is on an island, working in the face of adversity, probably will get fired by Garpax after the season. At least D Rose offered his support for VDN. Reinsdorf should fire Paxson, he wants to be GM and coach but doesn’t want all the responsibilty so he gets Forman and VDN to do it and then just complains. He wanted to sit on the sidelines and be a front office guy, so he should just let other people do their jobs and shut up. I hope VDN sues their asses and wins.

  8. chicondo@hotmail.com'
    luvabullnj April 14, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    Absolutely keeping my eyes peeled. Rose is quietly shedding the shy, young man, defer to the veterans out of respect, and taking over the leadership role on this team. We are witnessing a Rose in bloom. And Noah is taking the brash, abrasive, outspoken but backing it up with his play, leadership role. Absolutely Loving It!

    Is it me or has Noah elevated his offensive game to the next level? At mid-season he started taking one ugly mid-range jumper a game but now seems to be taking two or three a game and making them. Even showing some good post moves and Brad Miller like up fake and drive to the basket moves. Not to mention the passing.

    But for me the most satisfying play of the game was ‘Sheed tossing in the layup to extend the Bulls lead. That was sweet revenge for all his taunting we had to suffer every game the Bulls played against the Pistons. Somewhere Noce is rolling on the floor with uncontrollable laughter.

    I read your comments on ESPN’s DDL. So I’m grabbing your tie and jabbing you in the chest Matt, just to draw my fellow Bulls fans attention away from their anxiety over tonight’s game and keep them from gnawing their fingers away before 8pm tonight.

    I say the Bulls won’t be swept by the Cavs. A healthy Joakim Noah will see to that. Hopefully the antics of sideline LeBron has gotten under the skin of other Bulls as well. Provided the Bulls make the playoffs of course. It’s not a gimme if Jax and Wallace play tonight.

    I’m picking Orlando over the LaBronaires for the Eastern Conf Crown. As much as I dislike Kobe (mostly because he is MJ not winning for my beloved Bulls), I respect (fear?) his game and the will to win. Not feeling the same for sideline LeBrood. Superman II will eat Superman I ‘s lunch and then some. A healthy Jameer Nelson will keep Mo Williams in check and the rest of the Magic will offset whatever charm LeBron conjures up.

    And lastly, I think Kevin Love would be a perfect fit for the Bulls. I can just hear Stacey King spouting, “D-Rose spreading some Love to Kevin for the trey…”. He’d be a great “strech four” to pair with Noah solidifying the interior. I see him as younger version of Antwan Jamison. I see more of an issue with Al Jefferson pairing with Noah as both need to be under the basket to be effective. However, I do agree with you that it raises a big red flag when the T’wolves can’t make the Love-Jefferson combo work well.

    I also like David Lee. Yes his defense is weak but he’s got great mid-range jumper, a nose for the ball and would be very good in the pick and roll to pair with D-Rose. And Noah can mask his defensive deficiencies.

    On a side note: Boozer comes up lame on the eve of the playoffs. Milsap comes up big. Classic.

  9. bullsbythehorns@gmail.com'
    Matt McHale April 14, 2010 at 3:00 pm #

    “What an amazing game. The effort was palpable. The way guys were fighting for rebounds, closing out on shooters, and running the floor was terrific. And Derrick Rose…”

    To me, the best part about the game was the desire. That’s what we want and need from the Bullies every night. It was great to see. And it was like Rose read all the rumors about him being overrated. He did everything people say he doesn’t do. Real fun to watch.

    “You sure are right. These events shed light on VDN’s peculiar usage of Noah in the Nets game, and they immeasurably elevate Del Negro and lower Paxson in my book. It seems that Paxson interfered with Skiles’s work, too, no?”

    It’s hard to say what Pax might have or have not done during the Skiles era. But this whole situation stinks to me. This stuff can’t happen. It’s a black eye to the franchise. And it almost feels like Paxson is looking for a reason to fire Vinny, because Vinny has exceeded expectations the last two years, and creating major drama over minutes played by an injured player could potentially justify an axing.

    “I couldn’t agree more about Rose, and it was, in my view, an absolute breakout game for him defensively. He wanted the challenge on the defensive end, rather than going through the motions. Very exciting to watch; let’s hope he keeps that intensity up through the rest of the season…”

    Totally. You could see it…he went into this game thinking, “I am shutting Rondo DOWN.” And he did it. I was ready to jump out of my seat a couple times. He also uncorked a spectacular dunk and then tried (and failed) to pull off another near the end of the game, which highlighted his desire to give the fans a show.

    “Matt, if only you had a contact form on this blog so I could send you the 13 page Word doc with all references to bacon, the epic bacon/turkey bacon debate and some random stabs at Boozer from DDL after you left. It was like an hour and a half of DailyBaconLive. Oh, and something about Harper and Mahoney being BFF’s. And you missed this gem from Bethelem Shoals: ‘But what remains unexplored is the meaning of bacon in post hip hop NBA culture as a troubling signifier of America’s race problems.’”

    Aw, man, I hate that I missed that! If you ever want to e-mail me, it’s bullsbythehorns@gmail.com. I hate to miss anything bacon related…

    “So when Rose scores 40, its a reminder and more proof that he is a furture superstar. When Robinson does it it’s a fluke.”

    Pretty much. Another thing to factor in…40+ point games usually happen when a player takes 25-30 shots. (Robinson took 24 when he scored his 41.) Rose has taken 25 or more shots only three times this season. He did it only twice last season. A lot has been made of the fact that, due to the fact that he doesn’t get to the line a lot, Rose needs a lot of shots to score his points (20 PPG on 17 shots per), but he’s not a chucker.

    Anyway, I just checked his splits. Here’s what Rose has done in April: 7 games, 25 PPG, 54 percent shooting, 18 shots per game, 6 FTA per game, 7.3 APG.

    Dude has stepped up.

    “So players scuffle in practice and it’s just ‘intensity’. When it’s coaches and GM’s it’s deplorable?”

    Getting into a scuffle during physical competition is way, way different than walking to someone’s office, grabbing them by the tie and threatening them. It’s kind of like the difference between crimes of passion and crimes that are planned out. Vinny didn’t hack Pax during a scrimmage. Paxson had more than enough time on his way to Vinny’s office to calm down, but he didn’t. He physically abused and threatened an employee. Not a teammate, not an equal, an employee.

  10. bscholtens@hotmail.com'
    Brad S. April 14, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

    PTFC –

    Since I don’t want to come off as a rube, allow me to clarify. I, obviously, do not think that Nate Robinson is as good as DRose. I just try to constantly re-evaluate my opinion of players since these things change and tend to be influenced by the media.

    For instance: Aaron Brooks of the Rockets is averaging 19.7 points and 5.3 assists per game. DRose is at 20.7 & 6 per game. Statistically, pretty close to a wash. So if the Rockets offered to trade those two, do you take it? What if that trade garnered another draft pick for the Bulls or maybe some financial flexability? I would bet that most Chicago Bulls fans would say “No, no and hell no!” to that trade, but are they being wise or are they just buying into the hype? I have no interest in drinking the “kool-aide” and that is the crux of my constant evaluation of players.

    In case you are wondering, MY answer to that question is: No, especially after what I saw last night. Good players could score 39 points on any given night (like Nate), but only great players make all the moves and circus shots that DRose made last night. Those kind of players are the rarest of commodities in the NBA.

    So, we agree. I just wanted to make sure you (and everyone else) understood that my comparison to “Little Nate” was not because I think he actually holds a candle to DRose. It was supposed to be a comment about whether we as “homers” tend to over-value our players when compared on the national scene. …And how DRose might have just made himself “under-estimated”. Sorry if that didn’t come out in my writing.

  11. contrerasadvocates@yahoo.com'
    Savage April 14, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

    Paxson needs to go **** himself! He is the one that has failed the Bulls this last decade. Del Negro has put a young team in the playoff his first year and close to it this year. Paxson is the one fans booed when introduced at home last year. Paxson is nothing better than a scout. He should check himself before he wrecks himself. I wish fans could start a petition to present to the owner to FIRE Paxson’s useless ass.

  12. doubleaccord@gmail.com'
    Tony C. April 14, 2010 at 5:49 pm #

    I’m not excusing Paxson for his behavior, but there are only two viable options after this season: fire VDN and Paxson, or just VDN. It would be unacceptable to keep such a bad coach in place.

  13. TexasBullsFan April 14, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    How is VDN a bad coach? Has he not, since he’s been here, taken a young team to the playoffs, overseen the departure of his leading scorer, had 4/5′s of his starters miss significant time, been subject of numerous “gonna get fired” rumors, been physically abused by his boss and yet, through it all, has his team nearly in the playoffs again?

    Mark my words, VDN is green and still makes rookie mistakes, but he’s gonna be a hell of a coach one day.

  14. doubleaccord@gmail.com'
    Tony C. April 14, 2010 at 8:16 pm #

    TBF –

    I’m not going to spend time recounting the obvious, deep limitations he has shown throughout his first two seasons. And the notion that because the Bulls may squeak into the playoffs in a terrible conference, and only because both Toronto and Milwaukee lost key players, VDN is somehow a good coach is laughable.

    The Bulls have accomplished what they have in spite of, and not because of VDN’s coaching.

  15. tester123xyz@hotmail.com'
    bobbysimmons April 14, 2010 at 10:10 pm #

    Even if Paxson had his henchmen, VDN would still kick his ass. It doesn’t matter what your opinion is on VDN as a coach, the Bulls did him wrong.

  16. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath April 15, 2010 at 12:07 am #

    I am not impressed with Paxson’s body of work and I don’t like this episode either, but … We are judging a large situation on one moment and that feels dangerous. Think about the intensity that we witness and display on this blog and think of your own blood pumping as you watch the game and soar or seeth in the aftermath. Now, step into the shoes of the GM of that experience and attempt to measure what that must feel like. Sure, we have examples across the board of this kind of thing not happening. But, I am not ready to instantly castigate Paxson to the fullest. How many discussions have they had over the last two years that we don’t know? We look at VDN as a cool customer, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t a prick or confounding or insubordinate in his cool manner. This even colors the entire year and adds a lot of information that we have been missing. I can see from some comments that people had a “Ok, now it makes more sense …” feeling upon hearing the news. I feel that way, for sure. We always knew about the dysfunctionality and now we can put better terms on it. Funny, it doesn’t change a thing, when it comes to what they have to do this off-season. The stakes are the same.

  17. m_nazabal@yahoo.com'
    Max April 15, 2010 at 2:56 am #

    Bulls make the playoffs!!! I just want to say to Tony C and Bobbysimmons and all you other negative fucks please become fans of another team. The Bulls don’t need your support now because you sure as hell have not given it to them all season.

  18. bob.edwards47@yahoo.com'
    Boppinbob April 15, 2010 at 4:44 am #

    The Bulls made the playoffs. Can the Bulls go all the way, anything is possible. I would have preferred getting everyone fully healthy and finding out what everyone on the roster could do with extended playing time in 5 to 10 games. What do we know about Acie Law and Joe Alexander. Have we seen enough of Ron Murray and Hakim Warrick? Should the Bulls keep them on the roster. Since VDN overplayed Noah based on managements instructions did he ignore other instructions? Will we ever know the truth? I doubt it. While it is the head coaches responsibility to win games this season he must do it within the context of the managements overall development plan for the teams future. Has VDN done that? Only management and Vinnie know the answer to that. I am not impressed with how VDN used his roster. But I am not privy to the instructions that management has given him.

    Max, I am concerned with the Bulls next championship run. That is not this year. I am not interested in risking possible long term injury for already injured players to make the playoffs and being the sacraficial lamb for the Cavs. While miracles do happen (i.e.: ’69 Mets) I do not see the Bulls in that role this year.

  19. doubleaccord@gmail.com'
    Tony C. April 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    Max –

    Presumably you support your friends and loved ones by telling them that everything is wonderful, and avoiding criticism at all costs. Too bad for them.

  20. bscholtens@hotmail.com'
    Brad S. April 15, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

    Come on, Max! This is a discussion board for serious fans. How good would the discussion be if everyone posted something in the vein of:

    “Derrick Rose is the best!”

    or

    “The Bulls rule and I really like Joakim Noah!”

  21. contrerasadvocates@yahoo.com'
    Savage April 15, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    Brad, Point taken and I agree. On the other hand, I can see where Max is coming from. Almost all that is written about the Bulls by fans is negative no matter what. For example: ok they made the playoffs 2 years in a row but this but that and that. Sometimes as a fan it comes time to just enjoy some of the positives. Trust me I know how tough that has been during the past decade with this organization, I just tire from hearing all of the negatives over and over and over without hearing something positive from time to time. That is the main reason I do take part in blog a bull anymore. I would never say someone is not a true fan ect… but I kind of understand why he could get frustrated hearing so much negativity all the time from the Bulls fans.

  22. doubleaccord@gmail.com'
    Tony C. April 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    Savage –

    You and (Obviously) Max are completely missing the point. It’s ridiculous to categorize posts (or posters) as “positive” or “negative”, as anyone who actually cares about a team (or person, etc.) wants them to improve. So when, for example, I am critical of the team, or its coaches or players, it’s because I see room for improvement and I want them to do as well as possible.

    How on earth can you construe that as being “negative”?

    As an aside, the irony of your misuse of the word “negative” is that no highly successful GM or coach gets to where they are by cheerleading. They are tough-minded, critical, and constantly look for ways to improve the team. So the notion that we, as fans, should somehow be submissive cheerleaders, is quite ridiculous on its face.

  23. Ryan April 15, 2010 at 8:34 pm #

    Max and Savage – You are right.

    These d-bags on this site love to harp on every bad play, and have trouble enjoying a simple win or playoff berth. The worst part is that they won’t admit when they are wrong… ask bobbysimmons! The Bulls were done a month ago, and he planned to rip on management. Safe to say, I didn’t see many posts ripping on management.

  24. m_nazabal@yahoo.com'
    Max April 16, 2010 at 4:18 am #

    Okay Tony C I admit I was just pumped they won and had to stick it to all you guys who said the Bulls were done a month ago. As a Bulls fan my whole life I have been through the great times and the Worst times(Tim Floyd)I just see a team night in and night out who is honestly doing there best and they caught some tough breaks. Are they dumb at times yes. Is Del Negro green? Yes. But you guys talk about them like they are the Bad News Bears……we have that in the Fall. Wait until then to harp on how shitty a team is. As for family. Well I stick with them through thick and then. I try to be positive and upbeat. Negativity is like the plague. It Spreads!

  25. contrerasadvocates@yahoo.com'
    Savage April 19, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    -Tony

    I think it is you that is missing the point. No one said be a “mindless cheerleader”. I fail to see the point in being a “fan” if you constantly look at everything that is bad and totally ignore the positive. I have been a fan for near 2 decades now so I know that there has been a lot of negatives in the past decade for the Bulls. But the fact that we made the playoffs two years in a row is something to cheer for. I hate Bulls management but if I let that control my attitude then it would be absolutely no fun to watch or be a fan of the Bulls. I think it is safe to say no one on this site is a GM or a VP for a pro basketball team I think most of us are “fans”. We have no control over what moves are made we only have control how we choose to be as fans. I choose to try and enjoy the positives and from time to time vent some of the negatives. I see no point in living life harping on what is bad without enjoying the good. But, to each their own. The Dude Abides either way.

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