'Like a movie': Big shot enhances Rose's star status

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'Like a movie': Big shot enhances Rose's star status

MILWAUKEE - Consider it another step in his development, if you want to think about it in the present. But as far as the big-picture stuff goes, Wednesday night will be remembered and shown on the highlight reels years from now, when were remembering his already-remarkable career.

Huge, said Derrick Rose, following his first career buzzer-beating shot to win a game with no time on the clock. Thats something that I look at, man.

I know that Im young, like I always say, but I think about that stuff, he continued. When Im done with this game, I want to be a great.

Rose was talking about his legacy. A little presumptuous? Not in the least and observing him on a regular basis, he makes statements like that without a hint of arrogance and not even any false modesty attached to it.

Like everything else, just matter-of-fact. For example, witness a description of the final play following the Bucks tying the game at 104 apiece with 18.1 seconds left and a Bulls timeout, Rose received the inbounds pass, whittled the clock down and went hard right with Brandon Jennings shadowing him before stepping back to his left and knocking down a deep two with no time remainingfrom his perspective.

Roses thought process was to take the last shot. I knew they were going to be playing me pretty tough. Brandon was pressuring me pretty good and I had the opportunity to get space, and make a nice shot, Rose explained. I shot it with a lot of arc, so I just gave it a chance and tonight, it went in.

I usually drive left. I saw him Bucks swingman Carlos Delfino, the primary help defender on the play at the nail and I couldnt go that way, so thats why I stepped back, he continued. If anything, I was going to shoot the floater again, but he was sagging off when I started going to my move and thats what made me shoot it.

It gives me a lot of confidence, man. I remember a few years back, I was missing those shots. I think its a thing where you just learned from it, knowing what they give you. My last couple end-of-game shots have been floaters. Seemed like he was backing up a little bit and I just pulled up, Rose went on to say. I needed it confidence. Ive shot worse than this before, so thats what I think about when Im out there. My teammates give me a lot of confidence, just telling me to take the last shot and I wanted to go around five or four seconds, so that there was no time left on the clock.

Even his coach, by-the-book Tom Thibodeau, had to chuckle when asked about Rose after the game.

What can you say? Another big shot, played hard all game, big play after big play, said the NBA lifer. It was a great play by him. He took the clock down, he didnt leave any time because you felt like, whoever had the ball, they were going to score next.

Thats the responsibility of your primary scorer, so if youre single-covered and youve got a good look at it, take the shot. If the double team comes, hit the open man. Play the right way. Trust your teammates, trust the pass. If youre one-on-one and you can go, you go. Hes great with that, he added. I thought the play was defended well. He made a tough shot. Sometimes that happens. After the fact, its easy to say, Well, you could have done this, could have done that. Theyre tough defensively.

Hes got a lot of confidence and I thought he was attacking. He got to the line 14 times and I thought he could have been there even more, but thats the way it goes sometimes. He never stops attacking.

Luol Deng also took the play in stride, having witnessed Rose perform countless amazing feats in their four years together.

This was big. D is capable of hitting big shots. Hes proven that. Everyone knows at the end of the game, thats where were going and he just stepped up with confidence and knocked it down, he said. Im really surprised Derrick didnt get to the free-throw line somehow, kind of force it. I was surprised they didnt double as the clock went downI thought he took a little while, but I guess he knew exactly what he wanted, got to the spot and nailed it.

Added Carlos Boozer: Get the ball to Derrick Rose and everybody else get out of the way. It worked, like it always does.

Leave it to the most excitable player on the team, Joakim Noah, to break the monotony of business-as-usual reactions inside a fairly jubilant Bradley Center visitors locker room.

That shot was like a movie. It was like a movie. Hit the shot, no time left on the clock, we saw the horn, the ball just goes in the net. That must be an unbelievable feeling to be able to hit a shot like that and Im happy hes on our team, said the charismatic center. Its like a movie, I swear. Its special and everybody knows that he wants the ball down the stretch. He doesnt want the screen. He just wanted the ball in that situation and I know his confidence is sky-high right now.

Rose himself insisted he was happier about going 14-for-14 from the charity stripe especially given his foul-shooting woes in the Bulls narrow loss to the Heat at Miami in the two juggernauts only meeting thus far this season but while he, like Thibodeau, wasnt crazy about every aspect of the Bulls performance against the inferior Bucks, he acknowledged how special the moment was.

I remember in Miami almost the same situation we were down one and missing both free throws and just coming up here, that was going to be on my mind and knocked them down, and I think I was more happy I hit those free throws than that last shot, he said. Its great, man. Its a great feeling. If anything, were just happy that we got the win and trying to keep this thing going. Were playing pretty good, got to polish some things up still on the defensive end and play together.

But as always, even in the course of genuflecting about the shot in a locker room where even Thibodeau let down his guard with the media around, Rose credited his teammates for putting him in the position to once again rise to the occasion and be the hero.

Love it. As a kid, those are the things that you dream about it and it felt good, man. Youre on the road, playing against a team thats giving you their all and you hit a nice shot like that, he said. It ranks pretty high, man. Its up there. Hopefully I get some more in my career, like in the playoffs or something like that, but Im just blessed that Im on this team and they gave me the ball at the end, and it shows how much respect they have for me and how much confidence they have in me.

Just as Bulls fans are blessed to have lightning strike twice no need to mention when it first struckand witness special moments from a special player and special person.

Timberwolves' Tom Thibodeau appreciative of time with Bulls

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Timberwolves' Tom Thibodeau appreciative of time with Bulls

There's likely a lot Tom Thibodeau would love to get off his chest.

But the newest head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves continued to take the high road on his tumultous ending with the Bulls when he spoke to David Kaplan Monday morning on ESPN 1000.

Thibodeau, who was hired by the Timberwolves in April as head coach and president of basketball operations, said he was appreciative of his five seasons with the Bulls.

"I felt I had a great job here and I had great guys to coach," he told Kaplan. "That part, you're disappointed that it's going to end, but you know if you're in pro sports. These things happen. I was disappointed that we weren't able to win the championship, not only for our players, but for the fans here and for Jerry (Reinsdorf). Jerry took a chance on me and I'll always appreciate that he did that. I enjoyed my time here.

"Obviously I loved living here and appreciate all the support we received for our team over the five years I was here," he added. "I know what the Bulls mean to this city and I know how the organization feels about the support that they receive from the fans. This is a great, great sports city and I certainly appreciate all they did for me as well."

Thibodeau's departure coincided with Fred Hoiberg's arrival at the helm. The Bulls struggled in their first year post-Thibodeau, missing the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.

Thibodeau alluded to myriad injuries the team faced, including the season-ending shoulder injury to emotional leader Joakim Noah.

"Jo (Noah) is a big hit. You can't underestimate that, but along with Jo going down I felt that the East had gotten a lot better," Thibodeau said. "When you combine those things, and sometimes that happens. They're still a really good team. I think Fred is an excellent coach. They have to be healthy. That's a big thing for the organization, and unfortunately that hasn't been the case for the last few years."

The Bulls and Timberwolves will play twice next season.

Tom Thibodeau all smiles after seizing all the power in Minnesota

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Tom Thibodeau all smiles after seizing all the power in Minnesota

With the controversy behind him and a future that’s envied by virtually every team not in the playoffs, former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau embraced his introduction as Minnesota Timberwolves coach as a new beginning.

Of course, the smile was a little wider considering the title he’s also walking into the door with, as President of basketball operations. He’ll be able to create and establish his own culture as basketball czar, with comrade Scott Layden as general manager.

Layden will do the daily, dirty work, but Thibodeau will have final say in basketball matters—a responsibility he craved in this year away from the sidelines, and also evidenced by his partnership with the popular firm Korn Ferry, the firm that helped place Stan Van Gundy in Detroit.

"For me, personally, this is about alignment," Thibodeau said at his introduction. "It's not about power. It's not about any of that stuff. I've known Scott a long time. We've shared philosophies with each other about certain things. He was the person that I really wanted. So I'm glad we had the opportunity to get him."

Like Van Gundy, Thibodeau had a rocky relationship with his previous employer before turning the tables in his next stop to become the all-knowing basketball being.

Scathing comments after his firing last spring from Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf stung Thibodeau, according to reports, but was offset by Thibodeau thanking Reinsdorf for taking the chance on hiring him, not the ugly, forgettable ending.

“I don’t want to keep going back to Chicago, that’s gone,” he said afterward. “When I look back in totality, there was a lot more good than bad. That’s the way I prefer to view it. The next time you go around, you want to do it better. You analyze different teams, see the synergy between front office and coach and you try to emulate that.”

It’s easy to take the high road when two of the league’s brightest and youngest talents—Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins—are in your stead, healthy and ready to bust out.

And it’s easy to take the high road when there’s no barrier between what you want to happen and what will happen inside the building—a tricky proposition, it should be said.

The natural conflict that often exists between a front office and coach—one takes a more immediate view of matters while the other must consider the long-term effects of the franchise as a whole—won’t exist at all with Thibodeau and Layden because the hierarchy is clear.

It’s Thibodeau at the top and everyone and everything must bend to his will, per se. Considering the way he felt about the way things transpired in Chicago, where he reportedly clashed with Gar Forman and John Paxson over myriad issues, no one can be too surprised he followed the model laid out by Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers and Van Gundy, among others.

And like Van Gundy, Thibodeau has the task of getting the team with the longest conference playoff-less streak back to the land of the living—a feat Van Gundy accomplished this season with the Pistons, his second. The Timberwolves haven’t made the postseason since 2004, when Kevin Garnett won MVP.

It was four years before Garnett and Thibodeau connected in Boston in the 2007-08 season, helping the Celtics end a 22-year titleless drought. It’s Garnett, and players like Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah who helped Thibodeau earn this reputation as a master motivator and defensive wizard.

He thanked those players among others, as well as late Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders, who drafted the likes of Towns and Wiggins with the long-term view of having them develop at their own pace with the likes of veterans like Garnett and Tayshaun Prince there to guide them.

Thibodeau the coach will be there to prod, poke and push the greatness they’re expected to possess, the same way he did with Rose, Noah and Butler to varying degrees.

Thibodeau the coach won’t have much patience for mistakes, but Thibodeau the executive must resist the “trade everybody” emotions many coaches have when players go through down periods.

Having perspective was never one of his strong points, as he squeezed every ounce of productivity from his teams, but perspective must be his greatest ally in his second act in the spotlight.

Taking a long-term approach in a season when it came to minutes and players’ bodies was something he reportedly bristled at—and even if the narrative was somewhat exaggerated, the rap remains on him, unlikely to shake until proven otherwise.

Now he must take a long-term view in everything, and has to deal with the politics that come with being a top executive in the NBA, a task much easier done in fantasy than application.

Perhaps he gained that perspective in 11 months off after being fired from the Bulls, and using the time to gain insight into other franchises operations while watching the Bulls crumble from the inside.

The Bulls got what they wanted with his ouster, and it was a case of “be careful what you wish for”.

Eleven months from now, one wonders if the same mantra will apply to the coach who wanted it all and got it all.

Marc Gasol thinks brother Pau should sign with Spurs

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Marc Gasol thinks brother Pau should sign with Spurs

Pau Gasol has long been expected to opt out of the final deal of his contract with the Bulls this offseason.

And while there was a time when the interest in Gasol returning to the Bulls on a new deal appeared mutual, the liklihood is now that Gasol plays his 16th NBA season in a different uniform.

His brother, Marc Gasol, seems to think so, too.

When Gasol signed with the Bulls in 2014, he was also considering the Spurs, who at the time were the defending champions. Gasol chose Chicago over San Antonio and Oklahoma City, where he was twice named an All-Star and averaged 17.6 points and 11.4 rebounds in 150 games.

But he didn't have the success he expected when he signed. The Bulls were knocked out in the second round last year and missed the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons this year.

Gasol would make sense with the Spurs, who both tout a long track record with international players and veterans. It would also give him one last shot at earning a third NBA title, something he wasn't able to accomplish in two seasons with the Bulls.