AUBURN HILLS, MIch.At least we know Derrick Rose doesnt have selective amnesia, forgetting the games he wants to forget.
Following his nightmarish 1-for-13 performance in the Bulls overtime win against the Heat Thursday at the United Center, Rose told the media after Saturdays practice that he had amnesia and already put that game behind him.
After Sundays win at Detroit, in which he scored 24 points, dished out nine assists and saved the Bulls from an upset loss by hitting a game-tying three-pointer with 6.4 seconds left in regulation to send the contest into the extra session, Rose proved that it was true with a strong individual outing and afterwards, he credited both his teammates and his own work ethic for the bounce-back game.
Were learning from it. Were finding ways to win. I dont know how, but were finding ways. We have a good team, man. Im trying to catch up with my teammates. Im trying to play as hard as them and Im trying to get my rhythm back, but theyre allowing me to. They give me the ball in situations where I was in before the injury. Im just trying to learn my way through it, the reigning MVP explained afterwards.
It was a brawl. Theyre a good team. Theyre still trying to win and they played hard. We had the game. We were up by 12 in the third, we let the game slip and fought our way back.
Its coming along, man. Ive still got to get used to the tape, but driving, I think its coming along. Just shooting, just my rhythm is coming along, he continued. Just working on my game, man. Every off day, just in the gym, just shooting shots. Driving, doing Mikan drills, just trying to get the feel for the ball and the basket.
Uncharacteristically, Rose shot four airballs in the gameIm shooting them. Im shooting airballs, he admitted. Thats not stopping me. If I get an open shot, Im shooting it. but he came up big when it counted most Sunday.
I just saw I had an open shot. I thought they were going to foul. Right when I saw BG Gordon didnt foul me and Monroe was kind of back some, I just shot the ball, he said, describing the shot that sent the game into overtime. Freelancing. Pick-and-roll, see what we can get in transition. They backed up and I shot the ball.
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was pleased with Roses progress since Thursday.
I thought he was very explosive today. I thought he was terrific. He was in the lane. He still had some bobbles, but I thought his pick-and-roll offense was unbelievable. Changing direction was great and I thought he was getting to the rim, and he didnt get the calls, but he was getting hit, so hes got to keep going, he said.
Every time hes come back, its never more than a game with him. The other night, he struggled a little bit, but he had eight or nine assists and hes into the game, and hes a great leader, great leadership. The next day, hes in the gym, in a full lather from just working on his game and you just knew the next game, he was going to be ready to go and to me, you cant ask for more leadership than that. Thats the best type of leadership. Its not somebody just saying things and doing none of them, but somebody whos doing things and setting a great example, and setting the tone for the team. To me, thats the best type of leadership you can have and thats what hes doing.
Added teammate Joakim Noah: Its just great to have him out there. He puts so much pressure on the defense and that just makes easy opportunitiesDerricks a tough guy, so he knows that we need him and it was a good win for us.