Derrick Rose OK with benching

Updated: April 13, 2012, 12:22 PM ET
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose, who was 1 for 13 from the field for a career-low two points, said he had no issue with being benched late in the Chicago Bulls' 96-86 overtime win over the Miami Heat on Thursday.

"I'm fine, man," Rose said of coach Tom Thibodeau's decision to sit him down the stretch. "Anything to win. Where he felt that lineup was going to win the game, it won the game, and I can't complain about anything."

Thibodeau decided to ride the hot hand of Rose's backup, C.J. Watson, down the stretch. Watson scored 16 points along with nine assists and hit a 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.

Thibodeau admitted it was a little strange benching the reigning MVP.

"It's a great question," Thibodeau said. "Big picture, in terms of, if this were his first or second year, maybe you would be more concerned with that. But where Derrick is now as a player, he knows, he understands the situation. He's coming off an injury, he's a very confident guy. He'll get up to speed very quickly. The thing that you love about him, he was so happy we won, and so happy for his teammates, and that's who Derrick is."

After missing Tuesday's game against the New York Knicks because of an ankle injury suffered on Sunday in New York, Rose was back in the starting lineup after practicing fully the past two days. It was just Rose's second game in a month because of groin and ankle injuries.

"It's the same, where I'm just trying to get my rhythm back," Rose said, "I had worse games than this. I'm just happy that we got the win; that's the only thing that matters to me.

Joakim Noah praised the way Rose handled the situation.

"No, there's nothing to be upset about," Noah said. "When your leader is a team-first guy, it trickles down to everybody. It shows what kind of character he has. We're trying to win here. It was a great team effort."

Thibodeau wasn't all that surprised by the struggles of Rose, who had eight assists in 25 minutes.

"We sort of, we knew that would be the case," Thibodeau said. "He's done fine in practice, but there's not a lot of contact in practice so you don't know what the conditioning component would be until you get into the game. And again, there was some things I thought he did very well. He was a little rusty, but again that's to be expected. He didn't knock down shots he normally makes. But I thought for first time back after extended time off, I thought he was fine. And it will only get better."

The bright side for Rose, who has missed 23 games this season with a variety of injuries, is that he said his ankle felt fine.

"My mind was thinking something that my body couldn't do," Rose said. "But I've never had a problem with getting my rhythm back for a long time. I should get it back pretty quick."

Bulls guard Richard Hamilton, who has missed plenty of time himself with injuries, said Rose needs more time on the court to get his timing back.

"It's not all about your legs and your wind and stuff," Hamilton said. "When you're away from the game, it's all about timing. Timing and getting your rhythm back and that takes time. The more you're out there, the better you'll be."

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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