The Bulls earned themselves a rare win against the Portland Trailblazers [and oddly enough, this season, a rare win at home] last night behind the efforts of Derrick Rose who actually looked like superstar Derrick Rose.
Terry Stots said his priorities for defending Rose were keeping him away from the rim and running him off the three point line. Why anyone would make running Rose off the three point line a priority is beyond me, but he was 50% successful in these goals as Derrick Rose took only two threes, his lowest amount this season.
However he took 22 twos, and knocked down 14 of them. He added three free throws to finish with 31 points. Rose lived at the rim. He showed us the one man fast break again. He looked too big, too strong, too fast, and too good.
There were hints of it last game when he had that stretch of three possessions in a row where he scored, but this wasn't just a flash mixed into a game still dominated by chucking threes. This was an all out, all game, domination. Derrick showed the full repertoire including an off the dribble step back mid range shot to ice the game after Damien Lillard drilled a three to bring the Blazers back close.
This was the first real Derrick that we've seen since the first couple games of the season. Hopefully Rose uses this as a springboard to continue this style and level of play going forward. Hopefully there's no soreness, tweaks, or anything else leaving the game.
WTF, Mirotic with 18 minutes
Nikola Mirotic was the Bulls best big last night by my count. Yet he only played 18 minutes. It wasn't a matter of effort either. Mirotic looked like he was putting a ton of effort every play.
In his 18 minutes he still scored 15 with nine boards. He missed a few bunnies as well which could have given him an even bigger night. He was active on defense and though Aldridge scored over him a couple times [though not so much as Gibson], he defended him strong and forced really difficult shots.
It was great to see his play even if disappointing to see how little of it there was. On a night where Gibson didn't really have it going on either end of the court, I don't see why he's playing 44 minutes.
Aaron Brooks gave you D-Rose light
Aaron Brooks is just finishing with incredible accuracy at the rim. He was 8-10 on the night with four assists and just one turnover. Outside of one ridiculous three point attempt where he dribbled around for about 16 seconds only to take a contested fadeaway three without ever passing, Brooks just dominated.
He slithered into the paint at will, hit all kinds of acrobatic shots, and Portland didn't know what to do with him. I loved the few minutes we saw Brooks and Rose play together in crunch time, especially since Brooks had it going on.
Hopefully that's a trend that continues.
This was a big win for Chicago.
They've struggled at home.
They've struggled against Portland.
They've not had many quality wins this season.
This checked a lot of boxes for Bulls fans. Chicago has plenty of tough games coming up as I noted two posts ago, let's hope they can prove themselves over that stretch and prove themselves as a true contender.
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