While Noah's absence really took away some of my optimism for the whole season (out in first game? really?!), Rose's return was really exciting. It wasn't such a great performance but the explosiveness was there and that was my biggest concern. But since I didn't watch the whole game, I decided to take a look around on what people are saying about #THERETURN
With so much distrust and downright disdain between the Bulls' front office and coach, the ripples of Rose's resounding return on Saturday night ought to remind general manager Gar Forman and coach Tom Thibodeau of the stakes of surviving the organization's power struggle.
Rose said he's not thinking about his knee on the floor anymore. He said that it was a collision with training camp invitee Dexter Pittman a couple weeks ago in practice that helped him get past one of the last remaining mental hurdles.
Though Rose didn’t look like his MVP-best on Saturday, he wasn’t far off. The spring was there – Derrick nailed five of his six shots from the paint in his first and third quarter bouts with the NBA’s top defense in 2012-13
Only five of the Bulls who shared the court with Derrick on Saturday have shared court time with the former All-Star before, and Thibodeau was quick to warn Rose’s teammates they’d "have to get used to his speed."
"That's the way I've been playing in practice, just attacking," Rose said. "I'm not slowing down. I don't care who is in the hole. If they're going to foul me hard, I'm just going to get up and keep going hard at them."
"I was able to push the ball the way that I wanted to, put pressure on the defense," he said. "It kind of surprised me that I didn't get winded the whole time I was out there. So I guess I'm steadily building it along the way.''
Now that you’ve seen Derrick Rose challenge 7-2 Roy Hibbert at the rim, get knocked down and bounce up to shoot his free throws in Saturday’s 82-76 Bulls win over the Indiana Pacers.
Now that you’ve seen him crossover George Hill, leaving Hill reaching and the entire Pacers’ defense coming at Rose and Rose pounded at the rim.
Now that you’ve seen him go full court and dunk, though two handed? Nothing fancy yet, Rose said.
And now that you’ve seen him run the wing with Kirk Hinrich and finish, double pump on a drive and put in the layup and a finger roll, score 13 points in just over 20 minutes and complain to Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau he didn’t want to leave the game.
Now will you believe Derrick Rose when he says he’s back?
..."Honestly, the game was so much easier," Deng said of playing with Rose again. "It’s just an easier game. He’s out there in transition and it’s just exciting the be back playing with him."