Derrick Rose scored over 30 points for the first time since ACL injury
The former league MVP is rounding into shape, which should scare the rest of the East.
The Chicago Bulls beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night despite missing Joakim Noah to get their 14th win of the season. Six players finished in double digits for the Bulls as they dominated the Blazers inside on their way to 115 points in 50 percent shooting. As impressive as their performance was, what really made this game especial was Derrick Rose’s first 30-point game since returning from his ACL injury.
Rose went 14-of-24 from the field for 31 points on 32 minutes, connecting on nine of 12 shots close to the basket. He had ten points in the fourth quarter, which helped the Bulls fend off a comeback attempt by the Blazers.
His previous season high had been 24 points, which he scored on the Pistons on a win all the way back in November 10. Friday was only the fifth time this year that Rose has played over 30 minutes, as the Bulls have tried to be careful about monitoring his playing time after two ankle injuries and a hamstring injury. Rose has looked good on most games he has suited up for this season but there were still doubts about his ability to have a throwback dominant performance. With games like Friday’s, those concerns are starting to fade.
Coach Tom Thibodeau was happy with the aggressiveness Rose showed while Rose claims he is still adjusting after missing most of the past two seasons, according to Herb Gould of the Chicago Sun-Times:
‘‘I think [Rose] is building,” Thibodeau said. ‘‘Derrick was very aggressive, as he was in the last game. He’s stringing games together. When he plays like that, the thrust he plays with gets us easy baskets.”
Rose said he’s trying to be aggressive, the way Thibodeau wants. But it’s a process.
‘‘He tells me that,” Rose said. ‘‘But at the same time, I have to listen to my body, listen to myself, and just learn how to play with my teammates. That’s something I have to figure out. Every game, I’m getting more comfortable with it.”
Injuries have ravaged the Bulls this season, as not only Rose but also Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah have missed time and rookie Doug McDermott will have knee surgery on Saturday. They have remained in the chase in the East, where they currently occupy the fourth spot in the standings, thanks to their team defense, a breakout season from Jimmy Butler and a bounce back year from Pau Gasol.
If Rose starts showing that he’s truly back to form consistently, Chicago could soon become the team to beat in the conference.