- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- Tom Thibodeau has gotten so used to seeing Derrick Rose perform at the highest levels that it didn't even surprise him how well his 23-year-old point guard played despite a nagging toe injury on Friday night.
"It's Derrick," Thibodeau said. "You almost expect that from him. He let the game come to him. He didn't try to do too much. And then in the second half when it was time, he just made big play after big play, which we've grown accustomed to."
Rose admitted before the 88-79 win over the Celtics that his toe was still bothering him, but that didn't stop him from racking up 25 points and seven assists in a game that Thibodeau wanted to win against his old team.
"The toe feels all right, it feels good," Rose said. "Kept playing in there. [My] teammates did a great job with making shots, playing defense. I was just feeding off of them."
Did he feel any pain during the game?
"Not really," he said. "It's probably because my adrenaline was going and I wanted to win so anything is necessary."
That's exactly why his teammates love him so much. They know he will do whatever he can to be on the floor and they know he will give everything he's got when he's out there.
"It's obvious to whoever's watching basketball how much he makes the game easier for everyone," Bulls forward Luol Deng said. "When he's out there, the game is so much easier for me, so much easier for everyone on the court. He draws so much attention. And I keep saying, he's just going to keep on getting better. He's a great player right now, but I really think with Thibs, and with the assistant coaches [like] Ron Adams, he's even learning the game more. And he's making unbelievable plays out there."
On this night for Rose it was all about finding a way to play through pain and continuing to show just how much his team has improved. He isn't surprised with how much success the Bulls have had early and he certainly isn't surprised by the fact that the Bulls now have a league-leading 7-2 road record.
"We're not surprised by the way that we work," Rose said. "Hell, no. We're not surprised at all. We work hard, man. I always say this, everybody on our team sacrifices a lot of things and dedicates theirselves to making this team better. And everybody knows their role. That's what makes us a good team."
12dMatt Walks, ESPN.com