Sunday, April 19, 2009

Stunning. Brilliant. Historic. Epic.

Was that blog title dramatic enough? There are no words to capture the drama of Derrick Rose's playoff debut at Boston yesterday.

At halftime, I was texting and BBMing "Not a bad first half, can't give up this lead and the momentum in the 3rd."

It had all the right ingredients: The Bulls led most of the game, but didn't build a huge lead; PP and Ray Allen seemed ready to go off; the Bulls have a terrible rookie head coach who doesn't know what "halftime adjustment" means; in Boston, where the lead would get the crowd rocking ... and the Bulls could end up getting blown out by 15-20.

But every time Boston hit a shot to tie or take the lead, Derrick Rose had an answer. He was unguardable (UNGUARDABLE!) in his playoff debut. He hit big shot after big shot. He had that killer instinct, and would not the let the Bulls lose.

(From the Tribune)

It made me think of this quote (from ESPN) - "When he was drafted by the Bulls, Memphis coach John Calipari warned his rookie counterpart, Vinny del Negro: "Tell that kid he's not going to win 82 games. Because he doesn't know that. He's never had a losing streak.""

Rose's play cannot be put into words, but here's a summary (from a guy who didn't pick D-Rose as ROY) -
The Chicago Bulls did a lot of things right on Saturday afternoon in Boston en route to a 105-103 overtime win. They controlled the tempo on the Celtics' home floor, and mauled the league's second-best rebounding team on the glass. But it's impossible to consider any single facet of the game without focusing on Derrick Rose. Chicago's rookie point guard tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's record for most points in a playoff debut with 36.

Rose's game displays a seamless combination of spontaneity and purpose. He's perfectly capable of free-forming at any moment -- even off a made bucket -- but he's also a master orchestrator who controls the halfcourt game from the point. Rose shredded the Celtics' defense Saturday and he did it in a variety of ways.
Off the Dribble
Rose goes off in the third quarter, draining four field goals over a span of five Chicago possessions. The most spectacular of the bunch comes off a high screen and roll on the right side with Tyrus Thomas [3rd Quarter, 7:43]. Boston typically defends pick and roll action as effectively as anyone, and here Glen Davis and Rondo show and recover with ease.

Doesn't matter. Rose disarms Rajon Rondo in a flash with a subtle shoulder fake, then a deathly crossover to his left. Rondo, a capable on-ball defender, is left in the dust. Once Rose reaches the paint, Perkins arrives from the help side. Rose protects himself with his right hip, muscling to the hoop with his left arm, then kissing the ball off the window.

Rose beats the ball defender with pure quickness, then overcomes the back line help with strength. It's a superb composite of his game.
The Takeaway
For all of Derrick Rose's tactical exploits on Saturday afternoon, his instincts and unflappability in a hyper-competitive road playoff game were equally impressive. Rose appeared steely and calm. He never flashed a smile and never complained about a call. His confidence was brimming, but his style was workmanlike -- to the extent 36 points and 11 assists can be characterized as such.

Our front line (read: TT and JoaNoah) showed that they can play. TT hit some BIG shots in OT!

(From the Tribune)

And will 11-17 shut up some of the Noah-haters for a bit?

(From the Sun Times)

I don't care if KG is out there or not, those 2 came through in a big way yesterday. (Combined for 27 points, 23 rebounds and 6 blocks!)

I won't get too down on Vinny, because I'm literally still smiling from that win ... but Rose on PP when he has five fouls? Salmons playing when he clearly didn't have it (and Kirk was adequate/annoying on PP)? And here it comes, a Vinny compliment - You have to give him credit for keeping Rose out there (for over 49 minutes!). he recognized that Rose was the only chance we had, and he kept him out there. (Was that a compliment, or pointing out that Vinny did something that this guy could figure out?)

Back to D-Rose: yesterday was a thing of beauty. Hitting jumps shots, driving for layups, getting to the paint whenever he wanted, hitting baseline runners from behind the glass. Of course the ESPN highlights don't have much Rose, which makes sense. Luckily we get a Boston 3PT jumpshot and a wide-open Pierce layup in the highlights ...

Here are more highlights that don't show enough of D-Rose in the 3rd and 4th ...

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