One-time NBA MVP Derrick Rose appeared like his old self and played big to give the Chicago Bulls a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, 104-98, Thursday night.
The 27-year-old Rose scored a team high 29 points for the Bulls, who seemed to be back to winning after bowing to the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday.
The former MVP went on a scoring rampage in the fourth quarter, making 12 points on 5 of 8 shooting to hold off the Thunder’s threat to snatch the lead. Oklahoma star Kevin Durant led all scorers with 33 points.
Meanwhile, Rose’s backcourt partner, Jimmy Butler, was the highlight of Chicago’s offense in the first three quarters of play. Butler, who is currently considered to be the team’s best player, posted 26 points, sinking 4 out of 5 from beyond the arc. Butler also played on both ends of the floor after putting up two blocks and a steal. Throughout the matchup, Durant still managed to rack up points, though he missed 16 out of his 29 attempts.
Rose and the other Bulls players were frustrated about the 25-point loss to Charlotte earlier in the week. “Practice was a dog,” said Bulls forward Taj Gibson. “I was cursing guys out. Jo was cursing guys out. Derrick was cursing guys out. It was good to have guys challenging each other.”
For one, Rose’s scoring outburst was probably due to the fact that the Thunder allowed Enes Kanter to switch out on him a little more often, especially in the fourth quarter. D-Rose successfully converted on a variety of shots Thursday night, including pull-ups and floaters, both of which he had mastered and utilized with efficiency during his 2011 MVP season. However, after his ACL injury, as well as a few other injuries along the way, the basketball superstar has lost much of his athleticism.
This is probably why his performance on Thursday against the dynamic duo of Durant and Russell Westbrook brought a sigh of relief among Bulls fans.
In spite of the feel-good story of Rose playing like his old MVP self, there are still rumors claiming that a trade might come his way this season.
— FanSided (@FanSided) November 5, 2015
According ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the “breakup” between Rose and the Bulls may have finally begun. “I don’t know how long it’s going to last, I don’t know when it’s going to be complete, but you can sort of see it. The team and the franchise have moved on, to a little bit of a certain extent,” he said in a radio interview.
In the past few years, the Chicago Bulls franchise and its fan base have been optimistic that Rose would return to his pre-injury form and wreak havoc once more. However, since his two-year rehabilitation from the ACL injury, the Chicago native has been anything but consistent. The report further said that the fact that Chicago has fired head coach Tom Thibodeau means that the management is looking toward the future.
From a rugged team that glorifies defense more than anything else, Chicago is reportedly turning into a well-balanced team that has a deep bench. Unfortunately for Rose, he may not be in the spotlight for this team. Butler has recently become a max player for the Bulls, signing a five-year, $95 million deal with a player option in the fourth year.
This could mean that there will be two options for Rose: accept his new job in Chicago as a role player, or the front office will look for options to trade him before he attempts to walk out as a free agent in 2017.
[Image by Streeter Lecka, Getty Images]