CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose got the message Wednesday night.
He heard all the chatter about how he hasn't been driving to the rim enough during games and how he's been settling for too many three-pointers, and he decided to do something about it.
In what was arguably his best offensive performance of the season, Rose drove to the rim and opened up the floor as he racked up 23 points in a 105-80 win over the Brooklyn Nets. Rose called the win a "statement game," given that the Bulls came into the contest with a 2-5 home record.
He said he made it a point to attack the basket.
"I think so," he said. "Just trying to let this process work itself out. Trying to find ways in the game while being a point guard, trying to get other guys going, just trying to get a feel for the game and seeing whenever I can attack. I think I'm fighting my way through it. I'm not all the way there yet, but it's a process."
That's what coach Tom Thibodeau has been harping on since the start of training camp. He's been trying to give Rose the opportunity to come along at his own pace in the wake of two serious knee injuries. But in recent days, Thibodeau has been more open about his desire to see Rose go the rim more frequently.
"I thought Derrick was more aggressive in general," Thibodeau said. "That's what we need from him. He has to continue to be that. The more aggressive he is, the better for our team."
Rose remains confident he will return to the elite level he was at before the injuries.
"Y'all are the ones that's going to be surprised by the way that I'm playing," he said. "Just give me a little minute. I know where I'm going to be. I know how good I am, and I'm very confident with my craft and how good I am, period. So y'all are the ones that's going to be surprised with how I'm playing in a little while."
Taj Gibson preached patience regarding expectations for his teammate.
"The thing about Derrick, he is the same person, he's the same player, I think," Gibson said. "[The media] is so hypocritical in what he does. You got to understand, he's playing with hamstring injuries. That stuff is tough. Track runners sit out after getting their hamstrings hurt. They sit down. He's still out there playing through all that stuff. So I don't think it's anything about him being an old player -- I think he's just grinding as a player. He's getting better, and he's only going to get better. He's still young."
Rose believes that as well. He's trying to take a steady approach along the way.
"Every night it's not going to be my night," Rose said. "And I just got to live with that. I'm human. The one thing I can't do is lose confidence. I've worked too hard. I'm one of the hardest workers in the league."