Rose’s free throw–to make or not to make


Nov 17

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With all the elements of Tuesday’s exciting win in Houston and Derrick Rose’s transcendent fourth quarter, no one quite got around to getting into that last sequence when Rose was shooting a free throws with .08 left and the Bulls ahead by two.

Rose missed the first, so he couldn’t close the game. Kyle Korver then went up to Rose and told him to miss, the theory being since Houston didn’t have any timeouts they wouldn’t be able to get a shot after getting a rebound. But Rose said he wasn’t sure what to do as his instinct was to make the shot.

“I just decided to shoot it high and it went in,” said Rose.

I mentioned it to Luol Deng, who was munching on a pregame snack along with James Johnson and Ronnie Brewer as they were watching tape of the Spurs.

“He was supposed to miss,” laughed Deng.

Brewer agreed, shaking his head.

“It’s harder to miss a shot than you think,” said Deng, shaking his head at the apparent absurdity.

Deng recalled seeing such an instance the other day and I brought up Rudy Gay making a free throw with .04 left and then the Suns tying the game with a lob and winning in overtime. Light heartedly, they began to discuss if you could improve your shooting on a bad night trying to miss while hitting the rim, which is what Rose apparently was supposed to do. No one thought it was a good idea.

I didn’t think missing was. I said you could have committed a foul on the rebound with a two point lead and then they could tie. But Deng said they told Joakim Noah not to challenge the rebound and run back. It was moot, anyway, as Rose intercepted the inbounds pass to end the game.

— Rose also revealed that you never know what you are going to get in a chocolate or a game.

“Right before the (Houston) game I was talking to Ron Adams and saying, ‘I never have a good shooting game in this arena,’” Rose recalled, “and I was missing every shot. I was thinking, ‘This is going to be a long night.’”

It was an exciting one.

— Tony Parker was in the news here Wednesday with official word of his divorce filing with Eva Longoria as it was a bad domestic week for point guard with Steve Nash also announcing a pending divorce.

Rose is single, which has nothing to do with anything, but he’s been likened to Parker as a point guard jet quick who was advertised as not having a shot.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is one of my favorites in the NBA. He’s a native of East Chicago, Ind., an Air Force Academy grad who served in military intelligence and a student of world politics who owns his own vineyard.

I’ve known him a long time and enjoy him, but he is generally feared by the broadcast media. Some of my favorite moments are his post third quarter interviews with sideline reporters on national TV as Pop, as he’s known, doesn’t suffer fools well. He challenges you to be prepared and may be the bets journalism teacher in the business even if he’s wince at that mention.

He also spoke a bit about Parker vis a vis Rose during his pregame session with reporters.

“You wouldn’t think of Derrick or Tony as Nash type point guard who really can shoot the ball, which is something they needed to improve,” said Popovich. “They did have the quickness, but Derrick has significant strength which he combines with his quickness. When he gets his shooting down he’ll be pretty impossible to deal with. If he can do that consistently it’s Katy bar the door.

— I had a reader ask me and I couldn’t answer for sure, so I asked around about whether Omer Asik, technically an NBA rookie though he played pro ball in Europe, was subject to the rookie hazing. Johnson and Taj Gibson endured it last season with wearing a children’s backpack.

Taj said they didn’t’ ask Omer to do so because, “We consider him a veteran already (having played in Europe).” Though the other main task for rookies is to help the equipment staff load and unload the players’ suitcases for the airplane and Asik does that. Johnson did say he was thinking of bringing in his backpack from last year to let Omer wear it at least once.

— We’ve had a number of Tom Thibodeau firsts which he mostly ignores, though San Antonio was one of his former stops and where he first met his top assistant, Ron Adams. Adams had previously worked for Jerry Tarkanian, who got the Spurs job and hired Thibodeau, who became close with Adams.

“We had Rod Strickland, Willie Anderson, Sean Elliott, Terry Cummings and David Robinson,” recalled Adams, “and then it all fell apart.”

Owner Red McCombs let Strickland go and Anderson got hurt and they brought in Vinny Del Negro to be a point guard. That didn’t work and Tarkanian lost his job.

The irony was that Gregg Popovich was there and eventually got the GM job and then coach.

“Another year and maybe I have a 20 year career in San Antonio,” laughed Adams, who now is regarded as perhaps the top assistant in the league.

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