Rose asked Isiah Thomas for advice

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Rose asked Isiah Thomas for advice

No matter the side of town youre from, if youre from Chicago and involved in any credible basketball circle, then you know the name and legend of Isiah Thomas.

Known as one of the fiercest competitors and greatest point guards to play the game, The Hall of Famer was a 12-time All-Star and two-time NBA championship and named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History to go along with a resume filled with highlights and honors.

In knowing Thomas history in not only league history but Chicago hoops history, its no surprise that Derrick Rose reached out to the FIUs current coach seeking his advice.
As passed on by ProBasketballTalk, Thomas said he met Rose last season during a game in Detroit and that the Bulls point guard contacted him after Chicagos season was ended by the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.

"He was pretty down," Thomas said. "He asked me 'How did you do it? How did you win back-to-back championships at this size?' And my response to him was that once you understand your opponent and know your opponent better than you know yourself, you'll win."

Rose was last seasons MVP and helped the Bulls to the leagues best record. Shouldering most of the offense throughout the playoffs seemed to catch up with him and the Heat beat the Bulls in five games.

While the Bulls take all personal acknowledgments and criticism in stride always focusing on the team rather than one Rose has publicly placed the blame of the series loss on himself and his humble yet competitive demeanor has impressed Thomas.

"He's very courageous," Thomas said of Rose. "You've got to be courageous and you've got to make sacrifices in terms of your body to have success as a small man in the NBA and to win championships.

"And I emphasize win championships, because you can pile up statistics and great numbers playing a non-aggressive style and have a great career. But if you want to win championships, you have to pay the price and Derrick is definitely paying the price."
Derrick has already suffered through a turf toe injury this season and is dealing with back spasms.

The shortened season has made every team wary on how they handle players minutes, but Roses old school mentality is to play if hes able to; something that mirrors the toughness that Thomas entire career is defined by.

He's somebody where in Chicago, you definitely got to look up to, especially being a guard, winning championships in this league, said Rose.

Bobby Portis relishing his chance as starter

Bobby Portis relishing his chance as starter

A milk carton was a more likely place to find Bobby Portis than on a basketball floor playing big minutes for the majority of his second season.

He could often be found in the locker room before games and listening to the older players talk to the media afterward, trying his best to fight off the frustration and admitted confusion that comes with the regression of not getting playing time.

When Portis did play, he looked nothing like the confident and borderline cocky rookie who often referred to himself in the third person in interviews. He didn't know when he would play, how long he would be out there or even worse, what was expected of him.

The trade of Taj Gibson at the deadline — preceded by the temporary benching of Nikola Mirotic — put Portis back in the spotlight and he's intent on making the most of it during the last 23 games of the regular season.

"It's fun. You know go out there every day just to know that it's another day I'm going to play," Portis said. "That's the biggest thing for me. I feel like that's already a confidence builder right there, just coming into every game knowing that I'm in the rotation. It's great fun to go out there and play."

It's no secret the front office the Bulls want Portis to succeed and not add him to the ledger of some of the first-round disappointments that can be recalled in recent memory.

The trade of Gibson was certainly underlined with the mantra that Portis should play and the way was going to be cleared for Portis, one way or another. Scoring 19 with eight rebounds against the Celtics on national TV right before the All-Star break probably gave Portis enough validation considering he was thrust into the starting lineup at power forward soon after.

"I don't care about nobody judging me," Portis said. "At the end of the day I'm going to play basketball. That's my job. I'm going to go out there and do the things I do well. I feel like sometimes people misconstrue just because you don't play and they can say some things like that. I don't really care about anybody judging me at this point. At the end of the day I'm still going to be Bobby Portis at the end of the day."

Well, clearly, the third person thing hasn't left the second-year forward, but he said he stayed in the gym waiting on his opportunity, even through a quick but confusing stint to Hoffman Estates to the D-League.

"Just being hungry. Humble and hungry," Portis said. "You know one thing I always strive off of is being humble and hungry. That kept me sane. My mom, I talked to her a lot. She kept me grounded. It's kind of tough not playing and going through the season knowing that some games you might play, you might not play. You know it's about waiting your turn, but at the same time you have to keep working."

Being the fifth big in Fred Hoiberg's rotation didn't leave him a lot of room for Portis to get much run or even find a rhythm, and like many others who've found themselves out of the rotation unexpectedly, it was without much of an explanation.

"Nah, I didn't really know what I could do to get minutes," Portis said. "The one thing that I know that I always do is just come in here every day, work as hard as I can, let the dominos fall how they fall. Every day I come in here, just bust my butt for some minutes, but sometimes it wouldn't work."

Now that he has found himself into Hoiberg's good graces, his improving range has allowed both units to play similiarly.

"I think Bobby has done a real nice job," Hoiberg said. "He was a huge part of our win against Boston in our game right before the break. He just goes out and plays with so much energy. What I really like about him right now is he has no hesitation on his shot. He's stepping into his 3 with good rhythm."

Bulls Road Ahead: Keeping the momentum rolling

Bulls Road Ahead: Keeping the momentum rolling

The Bulls are currently playing their best basketball of the year, winning four straight, including three against Eastern Conference contenders.

How will Fred Hoiberg's group continue this pace during a daunting March schedule? Insider Vincent Goodwill and Mark Schanowski break it down from the Advocate Center in this edition of the Bulls Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda dealers.

Check it all out in the video above.