Skolnick: ‘Absolutely Electric’ Derrick Rose Makes Statement Against Cavaliers

Derrick Rose lit up the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night, scoring 30 points on an efficient 12-of-18 shooting for the Chicago Bulls. Is Rose finally all the way back? 

Ethan Skolnick speaks with Stephen Nelson to give his takeaways from Rose’s big night in the video above.

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Derrick Rose Crosses Kyrie Irving All The Way To The Basket (Video)

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose has returned in tip top form. Watch Rose lay a spectacular crossover maneuver on Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, spinning him like a bottle cap. The reverse finish with three Cleveland defenders surrounding the basket was poetry in motion. Somewhere, Pablo Prigioni is rewinding this clip for his amusement, while texting Rose a lengthy thank you message. Welcome back D.Rose, Welcome back!

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Derrick Rose Showing He Can Speed Chicago Bulls Back into Contention

COLUMBUS — It was but a blur, what happened back on May 26, 2011, a 12-point lead erased by the Miami Heat‘s 18-3 sprint to the buzzer, LeBron James celebrating an Eastern Conference championship on the recently crowned MVP’s home floor.

“At the end, it’s all me,” Derrick Rose lamented late that night. “Turnovers, missed shots, fouls.”

But, hey, at least he had his health. 

One knee shredded. Then, after a heralded returnand 10 games of 35.4 percent shootingthe other. 

Life has come at Derrick Rose fast.

Monday night, he came back at James’ new team even faster. 

“The fastest guy on the court by far,” Bulls center Joakim Noah said, smiling. 

That was the most meaningful takeaway from the preseason clash of expected Eastern Conference titans, an encounter that felt a bit like an extended trailer, a week prior to the premiere of the major motion picture.

Maybe the only meaningful takeaway: Rose is winning his matchup.

Not the one with Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, though he did outscore his USA teammate, 30-28, in 14 fewer minutes of the Cavs’ 107-98 win, and did turn him into a turnstile on assorted occasions. 

Rose is winning the matchup…against himself.

Against his body, his luck, his doubts, or anything else that may hold him back from becoming something close to what he was. 

And if he wins that matchup, then this rivalry can be something close to what many NBA fans hope it will be, one in which each side will have considerable reason to respect and fear and loathe the other.

If Rose is absent or even ordinary, then a slew of squadsWashington Wizards, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, maybe even the Charlotte Hornets or Atlanta Hawkshave reasonable shots to claim a top-two spot in the East, even with Chicago bolstering the rest of the supporting cast around a team Noah led to a third seed in 2013-14. 

As James said during his postgame interview after the exhibition on the Ohio State University campus, “There’s too many teams in the Eastern Conference to just talk about the two of us.” 

But if Rose plays like he did Monday, all conference conversations, at least for this season, will stop and start here, with these two squads. Then all the other matchups will matter. Pau Gasol working against Anderson Varejao on one end. Kevin Love working against Joakim Noah on the other. James working against Jimmy Butler when Butler returns from a wrist injury, and against Thibodeau’s scheme, which has been one of the more compelling coach-player intellectual exercises in recent years, dating back to Thibodeau’s days as the Celtics‘ de facto defensive coordinator.  

“Thibs is going to play you how Thibs is going to play everybody,” said James, who recorded 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists in his final appearance of the preseason. “It doesn’t change. I’ve been against Thibs defenses for a long time. In Boston. And then coming to Chicago. He plays you the same way. Very aggressive. Kind of filters you into the paint. Don’t give you no 3′s. Wants you to take contested 2′s. Always keeps a body on you. We have the personnel for it, but it’s how we place the personnel out on the floor to help us succeed. I’ll be able to give some insight on them. It obviously won’t be (Monday) and it might not even be the second game of the season. But long-term so we can be ready for their defense.”

James will try to get his team to replicate his recent playoff success against the Bulls (8-2 while with Miami) rather than his regular-season struggles (5-8 while with the Heat), even if he actually has shot better against Thibodeau’s Bulls in the regular season (52.1 percent) than in the playoffs (44.2 percent).

The question is: What postseason round will the Cavaliers-Bulls matchup come?

That depends on Rose.

Solely on Rose. 

So there’s no way to overstate what was witnessed Monday, especially in the second and third quarters, when he scored 23 points on 13 shots in just over 11 minutes, routinely accelerating past and then splitting two, three, four or five defendersbefore finishing with a floater or a layup on either side of the rim.

Irving, Dion Waiters, Matthew Dellavadova, didn’t matter. At times, the Cavaliers looked like they were trying to trap a lizard while wearing slippers on a slick floor. At others, Rose’s jabstep had them backpedaling as abruptly and awkwardly as politicians after taking unpopular positions, giving him the space to sink four three-pointers, one-quarter of his total from the truncated 2013-14 season.

“Just playing,” Rose said, without the slightest excitement. “Staying consistent with my workouts, no matter how I’m playing. Still trying to find my rhythm. Let the game come to me, and just play team basketball. Really, they were just giving me shots that I normally would take. The team is feeling more comfortable with me being on the floor, I’m feeling comfortable with just picking my spots.”

And, at the end, James paid him the ultimate compliment, by picking him up on defense, as he’s previously done down the stretch of tight playoff games.

“I’m not surprised at all,” James said of Rose’s performance, noting that he had watched the latter practice for Team USA in Las Vegas, and seen some of his games in the preseason. “As a league, as a fan, it’s great to have him back, and him playing at a high level.” 

As a Bull?

Well, Thibodeau isn’t known for his ebullience: If he won the lottery, he might drone on about the need for an experienced accountant to carefully consider all of the tax implications. So this particular postgame press conference was about as giddy as he gets, with glowing adjectives added for emphasis. 

“I thought he played really well,” Thibodeau said. “He had a lot of explosiveness. Back-to-back, he got into a good rhythm. He was attacking. You know, it was good. Real good.”

Thibodeau acknowledged that Rose has “been up and down,” but he observed that recent practices have been better, and that Rose’s Team USA experiencewith five games in six days in one stretchgave both of them confidence that the guard could handle a greater workload. 

How will Rose’s re-emergence affect others?

“Oh, you’re talking about an MVP caliber player,” Thibodeau said. “So it makes the game easy for everybody. He’s getting easy baskets in transition, he’s attacking on the pick-and-roll, he’s in the paint, making plays. So it’s a positive.” 

Enough that it left Noah positively glowing. 

“I like his mentality,” he said. “He’s aggressive. I think we’re gonna be… I think we’re gonna be really good.” 

Monday night, the blur in red gave no cause to think otherwise. 

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Derrick Rose Beats Cavaliers Defenders Down Court for and-1

It’s been a while since Derrick Rose has felt good enough on his knees to just run through defenders.

During Monday night’s preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Rose drove through two opposing players to get an and-1 call.

The Chicago Bulls star probably got away with a travel, but fans will be glad to see him running the fast break with such aggressiveness.

Rose wasn’t done there, however, spinning Kyrie Irving around then finishing at the rim.

[Vine]

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Derrick Rose schools Ty Lawson with killer crossover (Video / GIF)

Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose schooled Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson with a killer crossover while scoring a fast break layup during the first quarter of Monday night’s preseason game at the United Center.Rose used his speed to blow right by Lawson and made it look so easy.  Lawson had no chance to even slow him down.Rose finished with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists as the Bulls beat the Nuggets 110-90.Video via NBA.
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Derrick Rose: Confidence ‘very high’ in return

Derrick Rose has played 10 games the past two seasons but has the Bulls sights on a title.

      
 

 

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Derrick Rose controls the Bulls’ destiny

USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt discusses Rose’s return and how the Chicago Bulls stack up in the East.

      
 

 

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Chicago Bulls Season Preview: Is 70 Games Too Much to Expect from Derrick Rose?

Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls will roll into this NBA season with big expectations, adding Pau Gasol to an already loaded lineup.

Can the Bulls challenge the mighty Cleveland Cavaliers for Eastern Conference supremacy?

Sean Highkin joins Stephen Nelson to play a game of over/under on the Bulls in the video above.

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New-Look Bulls’ Hopes Still Rest on the Knees of Derrick Rose

CHICAGO — Derrick Rose is only three years removed from his 2011 MVP campaign, but it feels like a lifetime—to fans and to the Chicago Bulls’ superstar point guard.

“It seems so far away,” Rose said Monday at Bulls media day, kicking off what he hopes will finally be the year he reclaims some of that glory. His first comeback attempt, following a torn left ACL that sidelined him for the entire 2012-13 season, lasted 10 games. Even that feels like ancient history now.

Indeed, a lot has changed for the Bulls since this time last year, when Rose sat at the podium on media day and answered question after question about his knees, his health and his mindset.

There are some high-profile new names on the roster, both veterans (Pau Gasol) and rookies (Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic). There’s a new balance of power in the Eastern Conference, with LeBron James and Kevin Love joining forces in Cleveland. Even the building in which he answered these questions is new, a state-of-the-art practice facility across the street from the United Center.

But after all this change, the central questions remain the same as they were a year ago: How healthy is Rose, and how far can he take the Bulls?

Rose is as tired as everyone else is of his knees being the story around his team. He’d rather focus on the lessons he’s learned in two years of rehab and on the depth and potential of the reloaded roster the Bulls front office has armed him with for his latest comeback attempt. But he knows as well as anyone the questions aren’t going away anytime soon.

“I know that it’s always going to be there,” Rose said. “I know I’m going to have to answer this question for the rest of my career. For the Bulls fans, I can sit here and say it a million times, but the only way to answer all the critics and everyone asking about me is to be on the court and to actually play.”

When Rose does return to the court with the Bulls, returning to form is going to be a process. Anyone who watched him last month during Team USA’s championship run in the FIBA World Cup tournament knows that his jump shot has a ways to go.

He shot an abysmal 25.4 percent from the field in the tournament, averaging just 4.8 points per game. He’s got a handful of preseason games over the next month before the games start to count, but as confident as he is in his own body and abilities, Rose knows that might not be enough time to make up for two years of injuries.

“I’m not going to sit here and just say that my shot is going to be fixed when the season starts,” he said. “I’m still going to shoot the shots that I normally shoot. If you leave me open, and the game is telling me I should shoot, I’m going to shoot.”

That’s all mental stuff. The good news this time is he has no hesitation with the physical part of his recovery. For as poorly as he played in Spain, he still played in every game without any setbacks, and everyone in the organization views the tournament as a resounding success.

“First of all, in that setting, he’s not taking a lot of shots,” said Bulls general manager Gar Forman. “You could see the reactivity, the explosiveness, I like to call it some of the old Derrick Rose moves. The way he would get into the lane, get to the basket. I know some people were concerned that he didn’t shoot a high percentage. That’s not a huge concern for us.”

“He hasn’t played for a long time,” added head coach Tom Thibodeau, who served as an assistant for Team USA during the World Cup. “Basically, when you’re off for two-and-a-half years, there’s going to be rust. But the good thing is, he got through the practices, he played five games in six days. He handled the physical part well. The shooting’s still not there. He’s done a lot of shooting, but it’s different when it’s body-on-body. He’s got to get used to that again, but it’s timing. That will come.”

What will also come for Rose is the adjustment to playing with new teammates in a different offense, which includes some badly needed outside shooting. 

The addition of Gasol in particular gives the Bulls a versatile offensive weapon to pair with Joakim Noah in the frontcourt. Gasol and Noah are both gifted passers who can score around the basket, which could lead to more open looks and less playmaking responsibility for Rose. He’s already begun visualizing his role in a more diversified offense.

“I automatically go to the fourth quarter,” Rose said. “I’m out on the perimeter, and I’m just waiting to get a set shot, but you’ve got Pau and Joakim on the other side cleaning everything up. I just see him in the post, I’m waiting for a jump shot and you pick your poison.”

All of that sounds great on paper, and if things go as planned, the Bulls will be competing with the retooled Cleveland Cavaliers in June for a shot at the NBA Finals. They’ve got the talent, the depth and the coach to compete with anyone in the league—if Rose can stay healthy.

Lately, that’s been a big “if.” It’s Rose’s job this season to turn that “if” into a “when.”

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If Superstar Derrick Rose Doesn’t Return This Season, Then He Never Will

Derrick Rose is one of the most overanalyzed players of his generation. The Chicago Bulls star means too much to his city and to the NBA world at large to not be talked about, so his game stays under the microscope even when he’s playing only 10 contests over two seasons.

This makes for some very hypothetical, theoretical conversation. Rose has become more of an idea than an actual human athlete since tearing his ACL in the 2012 NBA playoffs, and we’re at a bit of a loss with understanding who he is as a player anymore.

But the buck has to stop somewhere. And this, the 2014-15 season, is just where it will. The proving ground for Rose has arrived. If he doesn’t return to superstar form this year, it should be safe to say that he never will. Rose can still be an effective, useful point guard (a remade could’ve-been in the style of Grant Hill) but reaching the level he was at before his body broke down (twice) is another issue.

The most important factor in Rose’s return to prominence is still his health. Being robbed of his on-court continuity is arguably just as devastating to Rose’s career as losing two years in the prime of his youth. He can’t become one of the game’s best players again without a critical mass of continuous action. Playing through mistakes over and over is how anyone gets to be elite at what they do.

So long as Rose doesn’t have more hiccups in his process, he has the chance to be who he once was, again, this season. But if he goes down with a serious ailment again, the basketball jury will largely settle on Rose—once an MVP, he faces the realm of fleeting nostalgic legend if he can’t get another full season under his belt.

Rose’s singular, lane-penetrating moxie—the trait that, above all, makes him so valuable—will likely take time to return. From Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes:

Rose’s jumper won’t matter quite as much if he scores in transition and attacks the rim like he did three years ago. The problem: Chicago still doesn’t know if he can do those things. Deferential to a fault in the World Cup, Rose offered up only the briefest flashes of his old head-down, run-through-a-wall style. A little discretion is probably a good thing for a player coming off two seasons lost to injury, but even just one sustained stretch of vintage Rose would have eased the Bulls’ concerns about his physical health and mental state.

Rose’s ability to get to the rim before defenses have time to turn their necks can be as much mental as it is physical. Luckily for Bulls fans, the point guard looks to still have his extreme speed and acceleration. But seeing the holes in coverage and instinctively cutting through them is also a matter for master strategists, and we can’t call Rose that until he’s had the opportunity to go through the ceaseless mental gruel of the 82-game season again.

Patience is still the No. 1 virtue in Rose Watch. It could be well after Christmas until we’re able to say what kind of player he is in 2014-15. Regaining his edge will take Rose a while—through the World Cup tournament, he certainly looked hesitant at times. Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski even said as much, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

He’s being very unselfish, trying to be a good teammate. It all comes from a good place. He knows the defensive ball pressure is there. He wants to distribute the ball. He’s in a lot of times when DeMarcus (Cousins) is in to try to get him the ball. We would like for him to look for his stuff as well.

Basketball is more complicated than it often looks, especially at the professional level. Derrick Rose was once one of the best in the world at it, but now he’s looking up a high mountain as he struggles back to its summit. If he can’t stay healthy and focused enough to go through some prickly trials and get there—or close to it—this year, we might be better off saying goodbye to our MVP vision of Rose.

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