Derrick Rose walked with a slight limp through the Bulls’ locker room to meet with media, after a night that could be best described as “peculiar.”
He hit the floor early in the game while taking a charge on James Harden and appeared to bruise his tailbone in the process. At times it seemed to bother him, as he went to the locker room late in the first quarter but played through it, although the Bulls wanted to sit him late until Jimmy Butler fouled out with under three minutes remaining.
“He tightened up in his tailbone,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He battled his way through the end. We were hoping to rest him but when Jimmy fouled out they started making a run. We put him back in there and everyone responded.”
But nobody bothered him more than fellow Chicagoan Patrick Beverley, a man who makes a living of getting underneath opponents’ skin. He picked Rose’s pocket for a layup in the second quarter, and the two were playfully jawing at each other shortly thereafter.
Apparently the officials didn’t get the notice that competitive banter is OK in this league, so they were hit with double technical fouls, much to everyone’s chagrin.
Rose actually laughed at it while it was being announced, considering the two are good friends and talk frequently, and Beverley even stays at Rose’s house during the summers when they work out.
“The league is not, I guess, used to that,” Rose said. “It wasn’t like we were cursing or yelling at each other or anything. Pat, he lived in my house a little bit in the summer. It’s nothing like that. We’ve been playing against each other since Marshall (high school, where Beverley attended). The rivalry goes back to high school, it’s just fun while we’re out there.”
It’s not usual to see Rose engage in any kind of trash talk, as he communicates to his teammates and sometimes to the officials when he gets knocked around without the reward of a whistle, so perhaps the refs wanted to keep the nationally-televised game above board and under control, not knowing the background.
“It’s funny,” Rose said. “It wasn’t like we were cursing at one another or saying foul stuff to one another. It’s basketball, I think, the league isn’t used to that.”
While that part about the league not being used to that nowadays, one thing Rose isn’t used to is having both Butler and Mike Dunleavy alongside him on the wings, as Saturday marked the first time those three played together this season.
Dunleavy was able to cut to the basket and spot up, while Butler’s return from a left knee strain presented another option as a shot creator and maker on the perimeter. Rose’s numbers was a mixed bag in the not-so-new but new setup, scoring 17 with nine assists on six of 10 shooting in 29 minutes with six turnovers against a super-aggressive Rockets defense—spearheaded by a pitbull at point guard named Beverley.
“They pressured the ball great,” said Rose, as the Bulls had 26 turnovers overall, leading to 25 Rockets’ points. “We gotta make simple plays. We tried to hit a home run with every one of our plays but the simple plays, getting out of the double team and go from there.”
And as everyone in Chicago held their breath when Rose took his awkward fall, as it would seem appropriate to get two big pieces back only to lose the piece the franchise is used to being without, Rose was undaunted about the thought of missing Monday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks due to the fall.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m sure. I’m fine.”