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Derrick Rose has ditched the mask, “getting my legs under me”

Kyle Lowry, Derrick Rose

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, right, chases down a pass intended for the fallen Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry,left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, in Chicago. The Bulls won 104-97. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)


The mask is off, and Derrick Rose has looked more like himself the past three games. He dropped 19 on the Thunder on Christmas, 25 against the Mavericks in a loss, and 20 on Toronto — and he’s shooting 48.2 percent in those three games (3-of-7 from three). It’s led to the “is Derrick Rose back?” line of questioning. Again.

What is different is that the mask is off, and he feels like his body has caught up with the grind of the NBA season. From Vincent Goodwill of

What was more interesting was why he ditched the mask.

Mask or no mask, the real question is can Rose sustain this? He has had stretches of impressive play before, only to take steps back. I need to see this over a longer stretch of ground — at least 10 games — before I start to buy in.

But if Rose finds his groove — and if he and Jimmy Butler can coexist, and if the team can find an offensive identity — it’s not hard to imagine the Bulls breaking out of the pack and being the second best team in the East. They’ve always looked like the second best on paper, but can they start to put all the pieces together? For more than a couple of games?

In an East where it seems every week another team is breaking out — the Hawks won six straight until the Pacers beat them — a few good games from Rose is a hopeful sign for Bulls fans, but not a trend. Yet.