Bulls

Rose's stellar defense on stars quiets criticism

386322.jpg

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.

Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

lebronheat.png
AP

Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

The Bulls couldn't have known it at the time, but when LeBron James blocked a Derrick Rose 3-point attempt in the final seconds of Game 5 in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, it was the closest those Bulls would ever get to the promised land.

It happened on May 26, 2011, seven long, long, long years ago today.

The game was an ugly one and certainly a fourth quarter the Bulls would love to have back. They took a 12-point lead on a Ronnie Brewer 3-pointer with 3:53 remaining. The Heat closed the game on a 19-4 run, with James' emphatic block on Rose the lasting image of the series.

James finished with a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds, and added six assists, three steals and two blocks in 46 minutes.

Rose went just 9-for-29, finishing the series shooting 35 percent from the field after being named league MVP over James.

It's probably unfair to say James and James alone shut the Bulls' championship window. Rose's ACL tear the following postseason realistically was the biggest culprit. But these Bulls had won 62 games, had homecourt advantage, had the MVP, the Coach of the Year and all the momentum. And still they couldn't get it done against James.

That win also sent James to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007. He's been there every year since, though that could change as he faces the Celtics on Sunday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.

Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.

"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"

Paxson scored 10 of 12 points for the Bulls during a fourth quarter run in Game 5 of the 1991 NBA Finals, the series clincher, and famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch that series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.

"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"

Watch the video above to see the interaction.

Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.