Rose has had an up and down season so far with most of it being way, way down. He's shown flashes of greatness, but on the whole he's had a bad season. That said, Rose's first quarter last night might have been his best quarter all year. Let's take a look at why Rose's first quarter was just so awesome.
Let's start with his first bucket. We haven't seen this from Rose too much this year. He blows by Wall, gets into the body of Jared Dudley, and simply elevates and finishes strong. We have not really seen Rose bully defenders inside very much this year. The quick hesitation dribble is enough to get by Wall. While it's not as impressive as an ankle breaking crossover, Rose does just enough to get Wall on his heels and blow by him.
This was probably my favorite play of the quarter. It was great to see Rose pushing the ball in transition. He probes the defense early, but he unfortunately gets walled off. However, Rose takes a few dribbles back out and then, boom! Rose makes an explosive crossover dribble, flies toward the basket, and gets fouled. There is just so much to like about this play. Rose pushing the ball in transition even when it looks like nothing is there. Rose keeping his dribble alive when it looked like he was pretty well trapped. That crossover was just unbelievable. The only way this could have been better was if he had finished the and-one. Rose has often been criticized for not being one of those point guards that can probe a defense to create opportunities. While he didn't create an opportunity for his teammates, he did probe the defense to create a scoring chance for himself.
What continues to impress me about Rose is his drastic improvement on the defensive end of the floor. This improvement started his MVP season, but he seemed to regress last season. He looks to be making a concerted effort on that end this season, and it's starting to really pay off. I can't even remember the last time Rose got beat back door (if I'm forgetting, don't remind me). Rose played some nice defense on Wall in the quarter. Wall was 3-8 for 8 points in the quarter, but two of those points came off a transition dunk (off of Rose's only turnover in the quarter). In the half court, Rose did an excellent job handling Wall, who has been playing awfully well lately. His great D on Wall was highlighted by this monster block. Wall tried to take Rose into the post, but Derrick was having none of that. Rose was also fantastic in transition defense. The guy has just become really good at taking charges. A mere 20 seconds after his block on Wall, Rose takes a charge in transition. Rose's defense was simply fantastic.
In that first quarter Rose would knock down a three as well making it a great all around quarter. His defense was great, and he played super efficiently on the offensive end. He finished the quarter 2-3 from the field and 4-4 from the line with 9 points and was single handedly keeping the Bulls in the game. He finished the game with some costly turnovers near the end, but all in all, there was plenty of good to take from this game as well. Knowing the Bulls and Rose, I'm sure tonight won't look nearly as good from Rose, but let's still take the time to appreciate what he did on both sides of the court in the first quarter last night.