Derrick Rose was up to his old ways on Saturday night when the Chicago Bulls opened their pre-season against the Indiana Pacers. Rose proved that stepping on the court and playing in a game was all the former league MVP had to do to make everyone forget about the past year and a half.
Rose played 20 minutes in the Bulls’ pre-season opener on Saturday scoring 13 points (5-of-12 shooting) to go along with three assists. What was even more impressive for Rose was that the Bulls’ point guard did not shy away from contact and played without any physical limitations. On his first basket of the game, Rose drove to the basket, took contact and then collected the offensive rebound for the second-chance bucket. In addition, Rose took an early blocking foul without any hesitation.
For Rose, it was all about getting back to feeling normal.
“I felt great,” Rose said. “I felt normal, I felt the way I’ve been playing in practice. I’m just trying to get my timing back.”-Derrick Rose, ESPN
Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau also was impressed with what he saw from the returning Rose.
“That’s the way he played before the injury, and he’s back to playing like that,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “And for him, that’s his game. The speed, the quickness, the power to go along with it — that’s what makes him so special and unique. There’s no one like him.”-Tom Thibodeau, ESPN
In regards to getting his timing, that appears to be where Rose stills needs time. In Saturday’s game against the Pacers, Rose turned the ball over four times and failed to connect with his teammates on several different occasions. That should come as no surprise as Rose re-acclimates himself to the starting lineup–one that now includes third-year player Jimmy Butler.
Thibodeau believes that Rose’s teammates will soon become accustomed to the speed that Rose plays at.
“The speed at which he plays, you’ve got to get accustomed to,” Thibodeau said. “His teammates have to get used to it again, and he has to get used to it, but overall, I thought he played very, very well.”-Thibodeau, ESPN
All in all, Rose’s return on Saturday was everything that Bulls fans could have hoped for. Rose played the way he did before the ACL injury without showing any physical limitations and that should bode well for the Bulls in the regular season.