Rose continues to will Bulls to wins

December, 4, 2010
12/04/10
11:22
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Brad Miller walked into the Bulls locker room late Saturday night and wasted no time letting Derrick Rose know how he felt.

Let's just say he called him a jerk. The language was a little stronger than that, but his tone was soft enough that Rose could laugh, as Miller’s frustration spoke for a large portion of the league.

Rose has a way of doing that to opponents lately.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Dennis Wierzbicki/US PresswireDerrick Rose scored 30 points, including five in overtime, as the Bulls beat the Rockets on Saturday night.
The 22-year-old point guard came up big again on Saturday, draining a buzzer beater at the end of regulation and scoring five more points in overtime as the Bulls came back to knock off the Houston Rockets, 119-116. Yet again, Rose swooped to the rescue to save his team from a loss. After seeing him do it repeatedly over the first month of the season, it's almost a surprise when he doesn't at this point.

“[B.J. Armstrong] said in the last four minutes, five minutes, that's when superstars show off," Rose said of his agent’s input. "So I try my hardest to do what I have to do to make my team win."

Rose has become the type of closer the Bulls were trying to land this summer. While he still may not be on the same level as LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, what's clear is that Rose truly believes he can take and make clutch shots down the stretch. He talked the talk this summer about wanting to be the face of the Bulls' franchise, now he is walking the walk.

"He's our guy," Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer said. "When we need buckets, we're going to D. Rose and he's going to make something happen. Even if it's an offensive rebound, he still made everybody come to him and we got lanes at the basket, so it worked out great for us tonight."

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau knows that Rose isn't just becoming one of league’s best point guards -- he's becoming one of its best players. The veteran coach noted correctly that Rose seemed to be attacking even more defensively, which helped open up his offensive game.

"Each day he shows you more and more," Thibodeau said. "That game was his will. It looked like we were going nowhere and he willed that win."

For Rose, it's all a matter of getting comfortable being the go-to guy down the stretch. He has been hesitant at times over the past few years to completely take over games, but not anymore.

"You don't think about the shot that you're taking," Rose said. "I know I've missed a lot of them in my past, but I guess in those type of situations I'm getting more comfortable and [confident]. Right now, I'm feeling pretty good about those situations."

So are his teammates.

"Derrick's somebody who definitely wants the ball in the pressure situation," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "When he comes off the handoff, I think if I didn't give him the ball in that situation, I think he probably wouldn't have talked to me for a couple days. So I try to give him the ball in that situation and he usually delivers."

That confidence is what will continue to upset players, like Miller, when they face the Bulls in the years to come. Rose has the ability to steal games from you. And make no mistake, that's exactly what he did to the Rockets.

"I think that's the first time I've celebrated this whole year after I shot a shot," Rose said of his regulation buzzer-beater. "It just felt good; knowing in [those] situations I'm capable of knocking down shots like that."

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jimmy Butler
PTS AST STL MIN
20.2 3.3 1.7 38.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsP. Gasol 12.1
AssistsD. Rose 5.0
StealsJ. Butler 1.7
BlocksP. Gasol 2.1