'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.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will the Bulls make the postseason?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will the Bulls make the postseason?

Ben Finfer (ESPN 1000), Brian Hedger (nhl.com) and Jason Goch (SB Nation Radio) join Kap on the panel.  The Bulls beat the Pistons in a game with huge playoff implication.  So could they actually make the postseason?

The Blackhawks are closing in one division title but what’s their biggest weakness?

Plus Theo Epstein’s a really great leader, Kyle Hendricks is going to have to wait a while to pitch plus DeShone Kizer loves the band “Chicago” but will he play here?

NBA Buzz: 2017 Draft could be the best in more than a decade

NBA Buzz: 2017 Draft could be the best in more than a decade

If you've been watching the NCAA Tournament closely, it's apparent this June's draft will include a number of elite prospects, maybe the best top 10 talent since the LeBron, Melo, Bosh, Wade draft in 2003. 

Washington didn't qualify for the tournament, but NBA scouts seem to be in agreement that Washington point guard Markelle Fultz will be the No. 1 pick. The 6-foot-4 freshman has the size and ball-handling ability to play either guard spot, and word out of Boston is Fultz will be the pick if the Celtics get the first choice in the draft lottery.

UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball put on quite a show in the Bruins' win over Cincinnati on Sunday, finishing with 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. The 6-foot-6 Ball reminds scouts of a young Jason Kidd, showing amazing court vision and passing skills with the size to see over the top of smaller defenders. And don't caught up in his unusual shooting form. Ball can knock down shots, hitting almost 56 percent from the field this season and 42 percent beyond the 3-point line.

The other consensus top-3 prospect is Kansas small forward Josh Jackson. The 6-foot-8 Jackson is an Andrew Wiggins clone who has amazing quickness and finishing ability. Jackson improved his draft stock with a sensational performance in the first two games of the tournament. If the Bulls decide to trade Jimmy Butler in a deal for one of the top picks this June, the rangy 20-year-old Jackson would be an ideal replacement. If he ever gets a consistent jump shot, look out. We could be talking about a 25 points per game scorer.

Since Fultz, Ball and Jackson appear to be the kind of players NBA teams build around, the Bulls could potentially negotiate with the teams holding the top 3 picks for the best possible Butler deal. Right now, the Nets (pick will be swapped with Boston), Lakers and Suns own the worst records, and if the order isn't changed by the lottery, the Bulls could obtain a quality package centered around this year's first-round pick and a quality young player from any of the three teams.

Here's a look at how the lottery selections could fall based on the draft order as of March 23.

1. CELTICS (from Brooklyn)  Markelle Fultz  PG   Washington
2. LAKERS                              Lonzo Ball        PG    UCLA
3. SUNS                                  Josh Jackson   SF    Kansas
4. MAGIC                                Jayson Tatum   SF     Duke
5. 76'ers                                  De'Aaron Fox     PG    Kentucky
6. KINGS                                  Malik Monk         SG    Kentucky
7. KNICKS                               Dennis Smith      PG   N. Carolina St.
8. TIMBERWOLVES              Lauri Markkanen  PF    Arizona
9. KINGS (from Pelicans)       Frank Ntilikina      PG    France
10. MAVS                                 Miles Bridges    SF    Michigan St.
11. HORNETS                         Jonathan Isaac   SF    Florida St.
12. BLAZERS                          Justin Jackson   SF    N. Carolina
13. PISTONS                           John Collins      PF     Wake Forest       
14. BULLS                                OG Anunoby     SG-SF   Indiana  

Alright Bulls fans, I'm sure you're asking, why would the Bulls want to draft a player coming off a serious knee injury? Well, the Bulls haven't done all that well drafting productive older players from major programs, so why not roll the dice on a 19-year-old who could develop into the next Butler?

Scouts raved about Anunoby's potential heading into his sophomore season at Indiana. At 6-foot-8, Anunoby has good positional size to play both the small forward and shooting guard spots and figures to be a plus-defender from Day 1 in the NBA. Right now, his rehab from right knee surgery and lack of a consistent jump shot are the biggest concerns, but looking at mock drafts in the 13-20 range, do the Bulls really want to take a project big man or a mystery international player? 

Even if it takes a couple years for Anunoby to reach his ultimate potential, he seems like a good choice in today's position-less NBA. Plus, in the Bulls' current position, they need to take some chances and try to get lucky in landing a future star.

Two other athletic possibilities who are projected as late 1st round picks right now are SMU junior swingman Semi Ojeleye, a 6-foot-7 bundle of energy and muscle who should be able to contribute right away, and Oklahoma St. point guard Jawun Evans, one of the fastest players in the college game who could ignite the Bulls' fast break after Rajon Rondo moves on.

AROUND THE ASSOCIATION

If the Bulls are going to make a late season run to the playoffs, they'll have to find a way to pass two of the league's hottest teams. Milwaukee has won eight of its last 10 games to pull into a 6th place tie with the Pacers, while Miami has been one of the league's biggest surprises over the last two months, going from an 11-30 record on January 13 to 35-36, and a game and a half lead over the Bulls and Pistons for the final playoff spot.

Both late surges are surprising, especially the job Erik Spoelstra has done in Miami. After the controversial departure of Dwyane Wade, Pat Riley decided to hedge his bets for the future and signed a number of journeyman veteran types like Dion Waiters, Wayne Ellington, James Johnson, Derrick Williams and Willie Reed to short-term contracts.

Williams was released and signed on with Cleveland, but Spoelstra and his staff have done a masterful job in piecing together a roster with a lot of duplication into a consistent winning team. Hassan Whiteside has continued to improve, averaging 17 points and 14 rebounds, while the guard rotation of Waiters, Goran Dragic, Ellington and Tyler Johnson has been especially effective.

Bulls fans will remember James Johnson as a guy who arrived from Wake Forest with a lot of potential, but went on to bounce around the league with little success. Now that he's finally in optimal physical shape, Johnson is averaging 12 points, 5 rebounds and 3.5 assists off the bench while doing a strong job on the defensive end.

Spoelstra probably won't win the Coach of the Year award, but it might be his best job yet after losing Wade and Chris Bosh, then seeing promising second-year forward Justise Winslow go out with a season-ending shoulder injury.

It's been a different story in Milwaukee, where the Bucks got off to a fast start behind the amazing rise of Giannis Antetokounmpo to All-Star status. A mid-season slump dropped the Bucks out of the top 8 in the East, and when Chicago native Jabari Parker suffered another devastating ACL injury, it appeared Milwaukee was heading towards another trip to the lottery.

But Bucks' coach Jason Kidd got Khris Middleton back from a hamstring injury, and inserted rookies Thon Maker and Malcolm Brogdon into the starting lineup. All of a sudden, the Bucks took off with Antetokounmpo getting back to his early season production, and the bench unit of Greg Monroe, John Henson, Michael Beasley, Mirza Teletovic, Matthew Dellavedova and Jason Terry becoming a real strength.

It's unlikely either Milwaukee or Miami will be a threat to Cleveland and Boston in the opening round of the playoffs, but the hard work and persistence of those coaching staffs should not be overlooked.

STAT OF THE WEEK

Yet another example of the Bulls' maddening inconsistency under Fred Hoiberg over the last 2 seasons is the number of impressive wins offset by blowout losses.

These numbers courtesy of CSN's stats cruncher, Chris Kamka.

Bulls 20+ point wins and 20+ point losses

(with Fred Hoiberg as Head Coach)

                 20+ point wins             20+ point losses

2016-17              6                           7
2015-16              3                           7

total                      9                          14
========================================
(With Tom Thibodeau as Head Coach)

2014-15              7                           1
2013-14              7                           4
2012-13              5                           5
2011-12             14                          0
2010-11              8                          1

total                     41                         11

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

I'm pretty sure Hoiberg was being sarcastic when asked early in the week if battling for one of the final playoff spots in the East is "fun".

The coach's response? "It's miserable." 

Hoiberg won't get a lot of argument from Bulls fans who see their team stuck in the middle among the 30 NBA franchises right now. That's the worst place to be in professional sports, with no hope of contending for championships and little chance of getting a franchise-changing talent in the draft.