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Derrick Rose paints his Mona Lisa against the Warriors

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'And this film we once saw was reviled for its flaws. But its flaws were what made us have fun.'

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulls and the Warriors were not in the same weight class on Tuesday night. Any official with even an once of empathy would have stopped the fight before it started. Consider:

  • The Warriors had not lost to an Eastern Conference team all season.
  • The Warriors entered at 21-1 at home.
  • The Warriors were posting the best point differential since the 72-10 Bulls
  • The Bulls were without two starting wings in Jimmy Butler and Mike Dunleavy Jr.
  • The last time the Bulls played the Warriors, Draymond Green took Pau Gasol out of the game by hitting seven threes in a 10-point Golden State victory. And that was a rare game in which Chicago had its entire rotation healthy.
  • Klay Thompson vs. Kirk Hinrich was a real life matchup.
It should have been a technical knockout from the start. When Thompson came out scorching from deep, it seemed like this Warriors home game would play out like every other Warriors home game: each long-range dagger would build toward a cathartic release from the crowd, the opponent would lose composure and eventually get run out of the gym.

This is what the Warriors do this season. They have reached basketball enlightenment in a way only the Spurs (and maybe this year's Hawks) have been able to achieve recently. Meanwhile, everything with the Bulls lately just seems passive-aggressive and kind of bad. The scene was set.

Even with the Bulls only trailing by five at halftime, it wouldn't have been a surprise to see the Warriors shoot the roof off in the second half and turn the game into a beatdown. After all, the Warriors have done that to better teams than the Bulls this season. There was really only one thing preventing it from happening: Derrick Rose kept hitting shots.

Rose was 4-for-4 in the third quarter with two three-pointers to help curtail the impending eruption. If there was ever a night the Bulls needed a vintage performance from Rose, this was it. He wasn't going to get any help offensively from the starting wing tandem of Hinrich and Tony Snell. The lack of spacing jumped off the screen. If the Bulls had any chance, this would probably have to be a night when Rose blacked out and played without a conscience.

30 points, 33 shots, 11 turnovers, one assist and one game-winning jumper in overtime later, it looks like that's exactly what happened.


Those numbers, man. Hilarious from a certain perspective, ghastly from another. Objectively, they're historic. No player had ever put up 30 points with 10+ turnovers and one assist. It probably wouldn't have mattered if Andrew Bogut stayed healthy or if the Warriors didn't somehow miss all nine three-pointers in the second half. Even so, Golden State still led in the fourth quarter for all but the final 16 seconds. So much had to align to turn Rose into the eventual hero Tuesday night, and somehow it all fell into place.

All of it left the basketball-watching community feeling shook.  What if Kobe Bryant played that wayOr Russell Westbrook? Perhaps it's a natural reaction for those removed from the constant echo chamber around Rose the last three seasons. Those aren't unfair sentiments, either. In the moment, though, it felt like a strange impulse to have after watching what might have been one of the most entertaining games of the season.

Was Derrick Rose good against Golden State? Was he bad? It doesn't matter, because after everything Rose had endured to get this far, that game was beautiful.


Rose logged 43 minutes on the night, the first time he had crossed the 40-minute mark since April 15, 2012. You probably don't remember that game.

The Bulls were in Detroit on a Sunday night, playing out the string to officially lock up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference during a lockout shortened season that saw Rose miss 27 games with various injuries. The Bulls were down three with just seconds remaining when Rose pulled up for three and sent the game into overtime. Kyle Korver and Richard Hamilton each had 13 points and the Bulls won. We were all younger then.

Rose would sit out the next three games with a sore foot. 13 days later, he would blow out the ACL that changed his career forever. He hasn't played a playoff game since.

More than any athlete I can ever remember, Derrick is family. So many of us remember reading about this lightning-fast point guard from Simeon in the newspaper, then watched him turn into a national commodity. The moment the Bulls cashed in on a 1.7 percent chance in the lottery to get the opportunity to draft him remains one of the most shocking and exhilarating sports moments I can ever remember, and there wasn't even a ball in play. His rise to MVP felt too good to be true, and maybe it was. Everything that's happened since -- the injuries, the self-sabotaging quotes, the constant critiques from the local media -- has only added to that feeling of attachment. Family isn't always good or bad, either, but that's not the point.

Derrick Rose went through hell to play those 43 minutes last night. He lost the best years of his career to rehabilitation. He saw his public image go from a humble golden boy to something resembling a young, petulant athlete. All the while, people forgot there was a human in there, as if his occasionally bizarre choice of words or refusal to once return from injury made it seem like he wanted to get hurt.

If you've spent the last several years of your own life worrying about Derrick Rose, his number of turnovers last night was the last thing that mattered. I'd like to think it wouldn't have mattered if the Bulls lost, either. That game would have been a 25-point blowout without Rose carrying the team.

There are times when the moment exceeds everything, even the constraints of a flawed box score. If you're really wondering whether Derrick Rose was good or bad against the Warriors, you're asking the wrong question.