Bulls

'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.

Zach LaVine not daunted by chasing ‘Black Jesus’

Zach LaVine not daunted by chasing ‘Black Jesus’

The statue doesn’t sit out front of the United Center anymore, but the statute remains the same for any player good enough to be on the marquee for the Chicago Bulls.

Zach LaVine, while awed by the specter of Michael Jordan, isn’t spooked by chasing a ghost. Weeks away from a debut as a Bull—returning from ACL surgery—LaVine is aware of the standard set by the man who called himself “Black Jesus”.

“Black Jesus played here for so long. I’m not putting myself in that category,” LaVine said, unaware Jordan gave himself that nickname as a young player in Chicago. “He lived up to it. They (fans) want to get back to that pinnacle.”

He hears the hopes and wishes of fans when he walks off the United Center floor two hours before every home game after getting shots up as part of his rehab. LaVine knows what’s expected from him—what’s more, he expects that from himself.

He’s a two-time slam dunk champion, certainly, but the Seattle area native wants to be known as a complete player, someone a franchise can build around.

And if it’s Black Jesus’ franchise, so be it.

“You try not to let it mess with you,” LaVine said. “I feel like I’m strong minded, I’m confident in myself. Everybody is gonna have their own opinions. All that matters is how you feel about yourself.”

Not that he’s not holding himself to the standard set by the standard bearer himself, but he’s aware the responsibility that comes with playing at Jordan’s position for a franchise still largely synonymous with Jordan—even though this spring will mark 20 years since Jordan actually wore Bulls red.

“No one’s trying to compare you to him, that’s out there,” LaVine said. “You’re just trying to be the best you, coming into this situation. You have the opportunity to be the face of the franchise. To be that guy. You want to embrace that. You want everybody to know you’re prepared and capable of doing that.”

Simply being identified as a player a franchise will commit to building around as opposed to the third wheel, as he was believed to be in Minnesota behind Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, is warming for him.

Derrick Rose believed he was up for the challenge until his body betrayed him. Jimmy Butler wanted it, but the Bulls thought otherwise leading to the chain of events that brought LaVine to Chicago.

In the first season of a full-fledged rebuild, LaVine knows the prevailing belief is that the next franchise carrier is more likely in the coming draft than on the Bulls roster.

“People gonna put a name on everything. I’m gonna hoop, do what I do,” LaVine said. “I know I’m talented, I think the Bulls organization knows I’m talented. Whatever we do with the pick or free agency, that’s their side of basketball operations. I’m gonna do what I do. I put in the work.”

He’ll return to full contact practice next week and if one had to guess, finally be introduced as an active player in the middle of December once he works the kinks out and gains confidence in taking real contact.

But then again, confidence has never been a problem for LaVine. Whether it was instilled in him by a vocal father who had him chart every shot he took as a high schooler or simply innate, LaVine isn’t shying away from the challenge.

“He had a plan, for sure,” LaVine said of his father, Paul, who once played linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks. “I have binders of shots. I was doing workouts the day before games. I was doing professional workouts before (college). I embraced being a hard worker.”

Whether it’s the rehab or a road that’s had plenty of twists and turns for him to be 22, he’s experienced enough not to be naïve but young enough to have admirable wide-eyed optimism.

“You put in that much hard work, it can’t fail. It can’t.”

The Bulls first quarter was historically terrible

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USA TODAY

The Bulls first quarter was historically terrible

Rebuilds can be ugly, but the first quarter of Wednesday's Bulls-Thunder game was downright disgusting. 

The Bulls scored single digits(!) in the historically awful opening 12 minutes. Here's a closer look at the numbers: 

7 - Amount of points scored. That's the worst opening quarter in franchise history and just one point better than the worst overall quarter. 

8 - Number of turnovers, which included three shot clock violations. 

13 - The Bulls shot 13 percent from the field. Woof. 

2 - Consecutive games Fred Hoiberg's squad has trailed by 20 after the first. 

3 - Carmelo Anthony outscored the Bulls by three points in the opening quarter (10-7). 

It's safe to assume that the lineup of Jerian Grant, Kris Dunn, Quincy Pondexter, Lauri Markkanen and Robin Lopez was not ready to play.