Rose's stellar defense on stars quiets criticism

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Rose's stellar defense on stars quiets criticism

Monday, Feb. 14, 2011
9:20 a.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

NEW ORLEANSWith the defense of Bulls All-Star point guard Derrick Rose receiving increased scrutiny last week following the disparaging comments of Portland small forward Nicolas Batumafter the Trail Blazers beat Chicago, Batum told reporters Rose doesnt play defense; he later recanted his remarksRose responded with stellar defensive performances against Western Conference All-Star counterparts Deron Williams of Utah and New Orleans Chris Paul. Rose typically wouldnt admit to being rankled by Batums allegations, but after making life difficult for Paul, he shed some light into both his individual and the teams defensive philosophies.

I was playing D. I think that I contested all his shots, just trying to make him work for it, said Rose. Im not even paying attention to what Batum said. Our defense, the way weve been playing, Im not worried about that.

READ: Rose outplays Paul, Bulls end trip with victory

Our defense, we over-help on everything, so if one guy outplays our whole defense, he outplays us. Weve just been getting on the right page right now, getting on the right rhythm, where if a guy is driving, were stepping in front and taking charges or trying to go for the block, he continued. In the Portland game and the Golden State game that we lost, we werent doing that.

No less than Hornets head coach Monty Williamswho coached Batum as a Portland assistant coach prior to this seasonwas a staunch defender of Roses defense.

Nicolas is running his mouth and getting Derrick mad at the rest of the league. He defends. I dont know what theyre talking about, said Williams. I watched that game. I didnt think it was that bad. He went for Trail Blazers point guard Andre Millers pump fakes a couple times, but everybody goes for Andres pump fakes.

Williams went on to further compliment Roses game, specifically the improvement hes shown this season.

WATCH: Rose says he wanted to make Chris Paul work for his shots

I couldnt foresee him shooting the ball the way he does now and I didnt see the explosion. Now, its like hes gotten quicker in one summer. Hes got better command of the ball than a lot of point guardscrossover, the hesitation; which I think is a palm, but theyre not calling ithe just dominates games with his penetration, praised Williams. I thought he was good, but I didnt think he was that good. Ive watched him, all these games on him. Hes an amazing player. Some of that stuff, you cant coach. Its like Chris. Id like to tell you I coach all that stuff with Chris, but you cant coach some of that stuff that he brings to the table.

Williams, who accepted the Hornets job after Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau turned down the opportunity, also lauded his peers sideline performance.

Thibodeau is changing that organization, as far as being a stingy defensive team. I dont know if they were known for that. Former Bulls and current Milwaukee Bucks head coach Scott Skiles had them playing a certain style, but theyve certainly brought that Boston defense to Chicago, said Williams, like Thibodeau, a first-year NBA head coach. Thibs is a guy who lives and breathes basketball. Hes probably at the Berto Center 24-seven, probably doesnt let anybody go home. He knows the game, he knows how to coach and you can tell the guys are paying attention to his message.

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.

Doug McDermott to return for Bulls against Spurs after missing 11 games with concussion

Doug McDermott to return for Bulls against Spurs after missing 11 games with concussion

After a couple weeks of woozy moments, confusing car rides and 11 games of inactivity due to suffering a concussion Bulls forward Doug McDermott will return to action tonight against the San Antonio Spurs.

McDermott took a hard fall Nov. 12 against the Washington Wizards while going up for a dunk, hitting his head on the unforgiving floor of the United Center and had to go through the concussion protocol before finally being cleared. It was his second concussion this season, with the first coming on Halloween.

“Good, great, it’s been a long couple weeks, but finally feel good to be able to go out there and compete, so I’m excited,” McDermott said after morning shootaround at the Advocate Center.

The last couple of days after being cleared for contact, he practiced with the Bulls’ D-League team in the attempt to get some rhythm and most importantly, some conditioning after being out for so long.

He was in great spirits Thursday, a sharp contrast to the initial days after the concussion where the simplest tasks became herculean.

“The first week-and-a-half was tough sleeping-wise, just weird symptoms you don’t even realize,” McDermott said. “Just being in cars, going to my appointments was tough at times, some headaches throughout the week. But with a concussion you just have to be true to yourself and true to the doctors. You don’t want to lie about things because it can only make things worse. I’m finally to the point where I’m feeling better.”

McDermott said going to physical therapy or riding on the freeway would trigger vertigo in the first week, but luckily for him, it didn’t last much longer after that. The first concussion of his career took him to different place mentally, and he leaned on Celtics big man Al Horford during that time of confusion and frustration.

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Horford missed a number of games with a concussion he suffered early in the season.

“Talked to him for about 30 minutes,” McDermott said. “He was in the middle of his and I had my second one. We talked about our symptoms and he really took his time and you see his game has been really good since he came back.”

“We're really the only two guys who've had it this year. People don't really understand, it's a tough deal. Basketball can be physical. You see it a lot in football. You gotta be true to yourself, true to your doctors because you don't wanna mess around.”

With the second concussion taking place 13 days after the first, McDermott and the Bulls had to be a lot more careful the next time around. Having one is scary enough but the fall he took in the United Center probably ignited a fear in him that he didn’t know existed.

“Yeah, you have to just listen to your symptoms, but I think with the second one in such a short period of time they wanted to be cautious too, and I did too,” McDermott said. “It’s not like an ankle sprain or a knee deal where you can play through things like that. It’s your brain, so you want to be as sharp as possible.”

The Bulls need any type of reinforcement they can get, especially for the struggling bench. McDermott feels like he can add some confidence or at least put other guys in a more natural order, although that remains to be seen as Nikola Mirotic and Isaiah Canaan have really struggled in his absence — all season, it seems.

“I think we'll get our swagger back too. We've had some injuries,” McDermott said. “Once we get myself and Michael (Carter-Williams) back, we've been rotating guys that aren't used to playing with each other. Once we get some continuity there with that group, things will get better. Adding a shooter like me, it'll take pressure off Niko, take pressure off Isaiah to hit shots. Just having 3 floor spacers out there will really help all of us.”

Five Things to Watch: Bulls try to snap skid against Spurs on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls try to snap skid against Spurs on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Spurs tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com, the only place where you can get the hometown call from Neil and Stacey.

Coverage begins at 8 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

1. Attempting to end perfection. The Spurs have been absolutely electric outside of San Antonio this season, winning each of their first 13 road games to begin the year. That's the second longest streak in NBA history, and the Bulls have actually lost two of three at home. The Bulls will be home underdogs as the Spurs look to make it 14 in a row. The good news is the Bulls have defeated the Spurs at home each of the last two seasons.

2. Battle of the two-way studs. There's a real argument to be made that Thursday's matchup will tout the two best two-way players in the NBA. Kawhi Leonard, the two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year, is having his best offensive season to date, averaging 24.5 points on 46 percent shooting, 1.9 triples, and averaging nearly 91 percent from the free-throw line. Expect Jimmy Butler and Leonard to be on each other's rear most of the night in what should be one of the most fun 1-on-1 matchups in the NBA.

3. Questions at the point. For the Spurs, Tony Parker is questionable to play with a knee injury. If he can't go, it would be Nico Laprovittola and Patty Mills running the point. For the Bulls, Rajon Rondo is coming off a pair of ugly performances in Bulls' losses to the Mavericks and Pistons (and his suspension against the Blazers). Someone needs to step up at the point, and it could decide Thursday night's winner.

4. Pau returns to the UC. Though it didn't result in much success, Pau Gasol enjoyed two highly successful seasons in Chicago. The stat-stuffer was named an All-Star in both seasons, averaging 17.6 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 150 games. He's now in San Antonio, filling Tim Duncan's role in the starting lineup. And though his numvers are down from a year ago, he's still capable of putting up numbers, especially against a Bulls' interior that has struggled of late.

5. Getting Doug McDermott back. Dougie McBuckets has been activated to the Bulls roster, and not a moment too soon. Since McDermott suffered a concussion on Nov. 12, the Bulls bench ranks 26th in 3-pointers per game (2.5) and 30th in 3-point field-goal percentage (23.5 percent). Getting McDermott back, even in a small role as he gets his legs under him, will be a major factor against a Spurs team whose offense continues to heat up in December.

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