Despite loss, Rose enjoyed All-Star experience

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Despite loss, Rose enjoyed All-Star experience

Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011
Posted 10:40 p.m. Updated 11:46 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

LOS ANGELES Derrick Roses modest stat line Sunday 11 points, five assists, three rebounds and a steal didnt come close to approximating the Bulls point guards typical performance, but despite his relatively quiet evening and the fact that his East team lost, 148-143, the third-year superstar wasnt overly disappointed.

Not at all, answered the ever-competitive Rose when asked how if he felt badly about the defeat at the hands of the West. The regular season, Id die for one of those games. Those are very important, but this is for the fans.

Just being able to see the fans, he continued when asked about his favorite part of the weekend. The fans here are great, came out to support us. I hope they had fun. Ive got a lot of fans here cheering me on, cheering the team on. I wouldnt take it back for anything. It was exciting.

As for the game itself, the West team hopped out to an early lead, buoyed by the scoring of hometown favorite Kobe Bryant of the Lakers and Oklahoma City small forward Kevin Durant (34 points). Bryant (37 points) won the games MVP award, the fourth occasion hes taken home the honor in the leagues annual affair.

Both teams were really going at first, then the West got up by a large amount. But we fought our way back in, made it kind of a tough game, said Rose. It was too late. It was definitely too late. Thats what we get for waiting that long.

Its an All-Star game. Its not like everybodys playing their top defense, he continued. Youre not on your team, so other than talking and communicating with each other, its real hard to tell people to play a certain type of defense.

Although Roses East teammate, Miamis LeBron James, recorded a triple-double (29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists) and sparked the conferences near-comeback, Rose came away most impressed with Bryants performance.

I have to say Kobe. He was out there doing his thing and thats what he normally does. He loves games like this. Thats why hes one of the best players in the NBA, marveled Rose. He played great. You kind of knew that he was going to try to show out tonight, especially being in his hometown. The Lakers are here, the fans are here. You kind of knew he was going to come out and go for it.

Rose, whos used to having the ball in his hands as a dual scoring-playmaking threat, also discussed the difficulty of keeping his high-powered teammates happy in the exhibition contest.

These games are hard, man. Theyre definitely hard for me. Its just one game, youre out there and youre just playing, playing with great players and Im a point guard. So, getting people the ball, trying to feed people, find people in the open court thats what point guards are basically used for in this type of game, he explained. If Im shooting too much what other guys are thinking and stuff like that it comes into play, especially playing on a team with people youve only been practicing with only one time.

Still, he did appreciate the fact that the likes of the aforementioned James could also share ballhandling responsibilities.

Rose stated: If anything, you get rest. You see how rested you get when you dont have the ball in your hands all the time. Coach Thibs only has a couple plays where the ball isnt in my hands when Im in the game, so Ill probably have to tell him to put some more in.

However, Rose did admit to being slightly disappointed in his outing, specifically his slow start, as he scored only two points in the first half.
Benny the Bull caught "Bieber Fever," after spotting pop icon Justin Bieber sitting courtside for the NBA All-Star game on Sunday. (AP)
Not being prepared for the game. I didnt shoot in a couple of days. Not practicing when we were supposed to practice, said Rose. All that comes into play, so Ive got to get back in rhythm, get back to my routine and hopefully do well in the next game that we play in.

All about the shoes

Rose created a minor fashion stir by first wearing a yellow version of his signature shoes, then switching over to the latest update of the model, Adidas adi Rose Zero 1.5, which hell wear for the remainder of the NBA season.

I heard about it the yellow shoes the whole game, said Rose of his eye-catching footwear, which were themed after the colors of his alma mater, Simeon Career Academy. Other players teased him Why did adidas put you in those shoes and stuff like that, but it was all fun and games. Theyre my shoes, so I love them.

I came up with the idea about wearing the yellow ones, then wearing my new shoes that Im going to wear the rest of the year and adidas kind of listens to everything I tell them, he continued. Shout out to Simeon because I didnt wear No. 25 (the number he wore in high school; Simeons top player traditionally wears that number in memory of slain 1980s Simeon star Ben Wilson) they thought that I was going to wear No. 25 when I came into the NBA, but I went with No. 1 so the yellow shoes are definitely for them.

Back to business

Even with the light-hearted nature of the weekend, Rose turned serious when discussing the Bulls season, which he has even higher hopes for with the impending return of center Joakim Noah from injury.

Just keep winning. Stay focused, keep winning and play with an edge. It seems like every time we play with an edge, we always have success, so thats what were going to try to do, said Rose. Weve got to keep balling. We cant take any steps back where its hurting us. If anything, I think itll help that Joakim is coming back because he brings energy and hes a great guy.

His conditioning looks all right, but its nothing like game condition. We have a lot of confidence in him when he comes back, he continued. Hes shooting the ball well right now. Hes got the cast off now and is shooting well. I think when he comes back, hell probably shoot a jump shot in a normal game because hes been working on it.

Box Score

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Nuggets run Bulls out of the building, end four-game win streak

Nuggets run Bulls out of the building, end four-game win streak

It got ugly and it got ugly in a hurry as Fred Hoiberg was ready to initial for a timeout before Jamal Murray's triple found an easy home in the bottom of the net after a Bulls turnover.

The onslaught happened quick for the Denver Nuggets and the Bulls were unable to counter with a reasonable response as their defense failed them miserably in the second half of their 125-107 loss—the first sign of serious defensive slippage since the trade of Taj Gibson as their season-high four-game winning streak was snapped.

And to make matters all the more optimistic, the Golden State Warriors and L.A. Clippers are the next two opponents to grace the United Center floor.

Jimmy Butler going three for 13 in 35 minutes definitely shouldn't be ignored, as was the Bulls inability to muster second-half offense after leading by three, but the Nuggets ran the Bulls ragged with ball movement and open threes all night.

"I haven't been in rhythm for awhile now," Butler said. "It's okay. We gotta a few more games, I'll find a rhythm and make some shots. I'm not worried about it, we got another one on Thursday."

Nikola Jokic dominated the stat sheet and the game with 19 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists in a showing that had the versatile center operating as a hub, creating open shots for Danilo Gallinari (22 points) and Wilson Chandler (20 points), among others.

"They do a good job of shooting and cutting around Jokic," Hoiberg said. "Some of the 3's were contested but I agree we did not run them off the line."

And when he received too much room on the perimeter from Robin Lopez or Cristiano Felicio, he unleashed one of his three triples as the Nuggets hit 13 of them, many during the decisive third and fourth quarter run when they pulled away.

Shooting 56 percent from the field and 43 from 3, the Nuggets made easy work of the Bulls once they figured out the Bulls' early defense, putting up 103 points in the final three quarters.

"We stopped getting stops, it was either a layup or a 3," said Rajon Rondo. "We gotta run them off the line. They get paid a lot of money to shoot the ball. Those guys, we knew going into the game what the scouting report was. We didn't stick to the plan."

A 9-0 run gave the Nuggets an eight-point lead in the final minute of the third quarter led by Jokic, as all five Nuggets starters were in double figures and they were shooting well over 50 percent, quickly erasing a 68-60 Bulls lead.

The Bulls' defense was little more than indifferent in the middle two quarters, giving up 69 points. And the Nuggets' onslaught stretched to start the fourth as they took a 96-83 lead in the first 90 seconds, with their ball movement creating open shots on the perimeter.

"Our movement was terrific in the first half, we were getting the ball up the floor," Hoiberg said. "We lost all that. The shots we missed deflated us."

Hoiberg said the Bulls' slagging offense led to a porous effort on the defensive end, which is an easy way to lose against the third-best scoring offense in the NBA (110.8 points per game).

"It's easily correctable. Just guard," Butler said. "Take your matchups as if it's just you and them. If you get beat, the help is gotta be there. If we guard, we're okay."

The Bulls were surviving early with the play of Rondo, who scored 19. Dwyane Wade scored 19 but nine came in the fourth when the Nuggets all but ended things in the first few minutes of the period.

"I thought Rondo was great for us," Hoiberg said. "When he's in the game our pace just goes up a notch. He's getting guys shots, he's throwing the ball down the floor."

The Bulls' early offense was at a crawl until Rondo started running the show, as the speed quotient increased ten-fold in the first half. He hadn't been that aggressive in weeks and it was necessary with Butler having a slow start and Cameron Payne being eased into running the offense.

"Just the pick and roll. I was trying to get into the paint," Rondo said. "Our bigs did a great job setting screens for me and I was able to get into the paint to make plays for myself or my teammates."

The balance between development and winning games is certainly met at the intersection of Rondo and Payne, with Rondo being a good option for helping the Bulls maintain their playoff standing.

Payne looked unsure during his time in the first half and missed his first seven shots from the field in his home debut, only making a triple after the game had been decided.

The speed and athleticism of the Nuggets confused the Bulls throughout, as one has no idea if this is the Bulls team that will be seen for the rest of season or if this was a telling and alarming blip on the radar.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Young Bulls stepping up of late

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Young Bulls stepping up of late

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