TOMLIN: IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE BULLS FUNERAL VS OKC, INSTEAD, DROSE RETURNED
By Terrence Tomlin
Tuesday’s game versus the Charlotte Hornets where the Bulls were taken out to the shed and abused 130-105, was the game that Bulls critics were waiting for. It was a sign that all had been lost. It was supposed to mean that this Bulls team mostly made up with the same players who once hung their hats on suffocating defensive effort, had no interest in doing so anymore. It was supposed to be a sign that new Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg was in over his head and that Tom Thibodeau’s pedal-to-the-medal approach was vindicated. This horrible loss to the Hornets meant from that moment on, the Bulls would fall into a downward spiral.
But most of all, that game meant the end of the Derrick Rose era in Chicago.
Or at least, that’s what it felt like after ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst dropped a column on Wednesday, one day after the Bulls loss to Charlotte, titled “The Derrick Rose breakup with the Bulls has begun”
“I don’t know how long it’s going to last, I don’t know when it’s going to be complete, but you can sort of see it. The team and the franchise have moved on to a little bit of a certain extent. And while I am one of the people that will pound the desk and say it’s not Derrick Rose’s fault that he got hurt, same with Kobe. These people who apply this dislike to these guys, it’s not their fault. Maybe Kobe overdid it, it’s not Derrick Rose’s fault that his knee got hurt. But his attitude has been not terrific. The comments that he made about his contract in 2017, you want to talk about being tone deaf?”
Needless to say, after these comments from Windhorst, a shit-storm ensued, setting the stage for Thursday night’s nationally televised game vs the Oklahoma Thunder, who represented the hammer that was supposed to send Rose and the Bulls plummeting to the abyss of basketball hell. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were supposed to come into the “Madhouse on Madison” and put Bulls fans out of their misery, even if it was only the sixth game of the season.
Instead, the player we once knew as “DRose”, returned.
After a less than lethargic performance vs Charlotte, the Bulls bounced back and showed an effort that all but solidified them as one of the elite teams in the NBA. Behind Jimmy Butler’s 23pts through the first three quarters, the Bulls took a 76-73 lead into the 4th. Clinging to a 2pt lead with 3 minutes and change left in the game and the team on his back, DRose hit a “vintage Rose” floater in the middle of the lane and kicked off what would be a personal run of 10 straight points. Rose scored 12 of his team-high 29 points in the 4th quarter on the way to a 104-98 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, resurrecting the Bulls after so many prematurely considered them down and out.
Joakim Noah, who has always been Rose’s loudest supporter, summed it up perfectly.
“Pooh’s (Rose) going to be fine. Sometimes he says crazy shit, gets him in trouble. But I know (the) competitor he is, he wants to win.”
Maybe critics of the Bulls should consider that the next time they hurry to write Derrick Rose and these Bulls off.