Derrick Rose ended Sunday's practice at the Berto Center by making five straight 3-pointers, no small detail for a player who missed all nine attempts from that distance on Saturday.
He then retreated to another comfort zone, the massage table on the second floor of the Bulls' practice facility. Given the amount of contact he absorbed from a physical Pacers assault in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series that continues Monday, now might be the time for the team masseuses to renegotiate their contracts.
"I knew they would try to be physical and put in my head that it was going to be hard getting (to the rim)," Rose said. "I tried to keep going. Some calls I didn't get. A lot of them I did."
Indeed, Rose traveled to the charity stripe 21 times, tying his career high set in the March 18 overtime loss to — you guessed it — the Pacers. Rose made 19 free throws, though, in this instance, little seemed free about them.
"To me, that's his toughness," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "People have different interpretations of toughness. The ability to drive the ball hard, get hit, get fouled, go to the line, make your free throws and do it again time after time after time, that speaks volumes as to who he is. And he'll continue to do that.
"He has attacked all year. That's not going to change. Quite frankly, I think he's getting more calls because people are used to him driving the ball that way now. They're trying to take fouls thinking that might deter him. That won't deter him. He'll keep going more and more and more."
Rose's performance made all the postgame talk about the team needing more offensive balance seem a bit overstated. If a team is going to give 21 unguarded shots to a team's best player, you take it. Plus, Luol Deng scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half and Kyle Korver sank four 3-pointers, including the go-ahead points, en route to his 13 points.
Thibodeau expects more of same from Rose, Pacers' defense
Chicago Tribune | Apr 18