By Connor McKnight–
Not much was working for Derrick Rose in the Bulls’ 106-94 win over the Bobcats Tuesday night. He was double teamed, trapped and turned-over all night long. That’s why his final line of 18 points on 5-14 shooting, 13 assists and 8-9 from the free throw line is pretty amazing. Even when he’s bad, he’s good.
“[The Bobcats] were trying to get the ball out of his hand,” coach Tom Thibodeau said after the game. “He made some key passes and some big baskets. Sometimes you beat the press with the pass, sometimes with the dribble and sometimes with the shot. Derrick did a good shot reading what the defense was doing and we had some easy offense off that.”
Rose did finish with six turnovers but had only two in the second half. The Bobcats trap frustrated Rose toward the end of the first quarter and allowed the Bobcats to sneak back into the game midway through the second. The Bulls failed to convert a couple easy buckets throughout the second half as well. That, and a nice drive and kick game through the first half allowed Charlotte to hang around until the early fourth. Luol Deng (24 points on 10-19 shooting) and Kyle Korver (15 points while going 3-3 from behind the arc) spurred the Bulls to a double-digit lead and the team was able to keep the Bobcats at arms length down the stretch.
“You’re not going to see a lot of blowout games in basketball,” Carlos Boozer said. “They are few and far between. At the end of the game we did a very good job of maintaining our 12 or 13 point lead. We executed very well. We hit our free throws and we played good ‘D.'”
So, although Rose was “limited” to 18 points, he was able to get his teammates involved in the play. More than a few were willing to lend a hand, in fact. Boozer finished with 16 points and nine boards while Taj Gibson chipped in off the bench with 11.
The Bulls have one game left on the schedule before the All-Star break in LA. They’ll square off against the Spurs on Thursday at the United Center. Rose will be the only Bulls’ representative in LA for the festivities.