Rose's Improved Rim Touch
Those rim makes were a really encouraging sign for Rose. Part of the reason why he was so bad to start the season was that he was shooting way below his career averages at the rim.
This is from a Dan Cahill Sun Times article in December:
Throughout his career, Rose has been about a 55 percent shooter within five feet of the rim. This season, Rose is shooting a dismal 40.4 percent at the rim. It can’t help that he hasn’t dunked since April.Rose is finally beginning to show signs of regaining that touch near the basket. He's up to 57% at the rim (shots within 5 ft that Cahill used from NBA.com) in his last 10 games. He showed off that ability to get his shot off over the trees last night with a ridiculous move over John Henson:
The next step for Rose is to get back to drawing fouls like he used to. His free throw rate is still way below his career average (no, it's not the refs' fault). He needs to get back his aggression in drawing contact on those drives.
As a fan, it would also be nice if he dunked. He's still at 0 attempts for the season and I miss those thunderous dunks.
Rose and Butler Playing Off Each Other
Rose joked with the media before this game that upon his return from a hamstring injury, he didn't want to screw up the chemistry the team had created.
That didn't happen at all (although it was interesting that E'Twaun Moore and Aaron Brooks both got DNPs despite playing very well in Rose's absence). Rather, we saw some interplay between Rose and Butler that we hadn't seen much of previously.
One of the biggest things was that we actually saw Rose move off the perimeter and make an off ball cut. The middle was wide open off a Butler drive, and Rose got a good look at a layup:
Rose usually camps out on the 3 point line on plays like this, where he's not a threat at all. There's a reason for that - the guards have to be the first line of transition defense so if one is driving, the other can't be diving towards the rim all the time - but it is nice to see Rose make cuts to the basket occasionally. That type of play is going to be open for him a lot if the Bulls care to use it.