Rose, Bulls come up just short vs. Clippers

December, 18, 2010
12/18/10
11:50
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose finally drew the whistle he's been searching for all season. With his Chicago Bulls down two points with just .8 remaining, Rose went to the line to try and tie the game up and send it into overtime.

He made the first free throw without any problem and then the crowd hushed as he put up the second one. As soon as he put the shot up, he knew it probably wasn't going in.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty ImagesDerrick Rose scored 34 points for the Bulls on Saturday, but missed a last-second free throw in a loss to the Clippers.
"I felt it," Rose said after the Bulls' 100-99 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night at the United Center. "It came a little bit short, but you got to look past this as a player. If I get put in that position again, I know I'll knock them down."

Rose's teammates know that over time, he'll make more clutch shots than he'll miss.

"He makes that shot nine out of 10 shots," Carlos Boozer said. "We'll put it in his hands again. I have confidence he'll come through for us. He's already won so many games for us. I don't worry about that at all."

Having seen Rose hit so many big shots, it was stunning to almost everyone in the building that he actually missed the most important one of the night. Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro was sure that Rose would send the game into an extra session.

"Absolutely," Del Negro said. "Derrick's a clutch player. He has ice in his veins. It goes to show you how difficult it is at times for anybody. At some time in your career, when you're a player of Derrick's caliber, you're going to miss some. But he'll keep taking them and he won't hesitate at all."

VDN returns: No one was quite sure how Vinny Del Negro would be received before Saturday night's game, given how his tumultuous two-year tenure with the Bulls ended last season, not even Del Negro himself. He received a mixture of boos and cheers and seemed to take it all in stride. There was no question though, that winning in the United Center meant a little more to him.

"Probably just because of the situation of me coaching here the last couple years," he said after the game. "But like I said before, it's about the players. It's about them performing. I'm happy for the guys, they've been working hard in practice."

Gibson is woozy: Taj Gibson suffered a concussion during the third quarter Saturday night and it may sideline him for a few days. He was hazy after the game, admitting that he couldn't remember much about the incident which sent him out of the game.

All I remember is being in the training room and I'm sitting out,” Gibson said. “I don't remember ... everything's coming and going in my mind right now."

The last word: Del Negro, on possibly coaching two of the past three Rookie of the Year award winners in Rose and Blake Griffin.

"You're fortunate,” Del Negro said. “Players win games. I've said that all along. But the thing with Derrick and Blake that is similar is: one, they're great guys, and two, they work. And as a coach, when you have those two components and when you have those guys as players it makes your job that much easier. Because they're just going to improve. Like I said when I was here with Derrick, he's going to work. He's in the gym; he's setting off the alarm at the Berto Center to get in there and shoot. Same thing with Blake; he's in the gym all summer working on his game. And his game will continually mature and get better. And that's the exciting part of it."

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
21.9 3.3 1.6 39.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsP. Gasol 11.7
AssistsD. Rose 5.1
StealsJ. Butler 1.6
BlocksP. Gasol 2.0