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Friday, January 22, 2010
It's good to be D-Rose

PHOENIX -- Derrick Rose was the last person to make it back to the Chicago Bulls' victorious locker room on Friday night. When he finally made it in past the purple double doors, all of his teammates were waiting for him.

They gave the young point guard a rousing ovation.

Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose ended the night with 32 points and five assists against the Suns.

That's what happens you score 32 points and lead your team to an impressive road win over the Suns.

That's what happens when you throw down a dunk so hard and with so much force on someone's head that an entire arena is left in awe.

That's what happens when a 21 year old takes another step on the path to becoming a superstar.

Make no mistake about Friday's game. The 115-104 win over the Phoenix Suns was probably the most impressive Bulls showing of the year, but it was also another national coming out party for Rose. The Simeon High School product could not be stopped, putting on a showcase for the entire nation. He dominated the action from start to finish. He was so locked in that at one point he threw up his hands, a la Michael Jordan in the 1992 NBA Finals, as if even he couldn't believe all his shots were falling in.

Maybe most importantly, he scored those 32 points on a night in which he vowed to donate $1,000 dollars for every point he scored to the Clinton/Bush Haitian Earthquake Relief Fund.

"I was just taking the shots they were giving me," Rose said after the game. "They were giving me mid-range [jumpers], so I was taking them."

And making them.

Rose went 15-for-21 from the floor. But most importantly, his play gave the rest of his teammates more confidence and raised their play.

"D-Rose was just huge for us," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "He took that matchup [with Steve Nash] really personally. And he's proving that he's one of the best point guards in the league when he's healthy. He led us [Friday night]. They tried to trap him with the high pick and roll and it just opened up the floor for everybody else.

"D-Rose has been doing a great job and he just shows what he's all about. When he's healthy, he's one of the top point guards in the NBA."

After Friday night's performance, it's hard to argue with that assessment, and Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro knows it. He sees the talent that Rose has on a daily basis and he knows that he's only going to get better.

"Derrick is just going to continually improve," Del Negro said. "His jump shot obviously looks a lot better. He's got better arc on it, [which is] something we work with him a lot on. And he puts the time in. There's no secret pill or magic or whatever. It's about wanting to get better and putting the time in and being coachable and wanting to learn. And Derrick's like that."

If his performance against the Suns is any indication, then it's scary to think how good he can become.