Rose keeps attacking, finally gets to the line


Jan 10

The story of Bulls guard Derrick Rose’s inability to get to the free throw line despite how much he attacks the basket and absorbs contact may finally be going away if Chicago’s last three games are any indication.

One night after tying his career high with 10 free throws made at Philadelphia on Jan. 7, Rose made a career-best 15 free throws versus Boston on Jan. 8. Against the Celtics, Rose made a career-high 19 trips to the line. In Chicago’s win over Detroit on Jan. 10, he nine trips to the charity stripe without a miss. Rose is 34-of-38 (89.5 percent) from the line in those three games.

So what has been the difference?

“I thought he attacked, and I thought he went through the contact instead of getting away from it,” said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. “Because of the speed he is generating, if he goes up through them to the chest of the shot blockers, he’s going to get to the line more.”

Rose’s style is just fine by Thibodeau, who acknowledged that it “causes a lot of problems” for their opponents.

“Once you’re attacking like that, it gets their front line in foul trouble and that brings their bench in,” explained Thibodeau. “It also puts them in the penalty earlier, so it gives us an opportunity to get to the line and then get our defense set, so we’re not facing a live ball coming at us.”

In a column that will run Tuesday at, Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen writes that Rose’s ability to get to the line could pay big dividends for Chicago in the postseason.

“He may not get the superstar calls like Kobe and LeBron get just yet, but it will happen over time,” Pippen said of Rose. “And if it has happened by the time this postseason arrives, it could be huge for the team, as Rose being able to get to the line will help in close games.”

Thibodeau dismissed any concern for injury resulting in Rose’s regular assault on the rim, saying, in other words, what he’s doing now isn’t that different than what he was doing before.

“He’s been attacking and he’s getting hit,” acknowledged Thibodeau. “By trying to get away from the contact, he wasn’t getting the call and I think going up through the contact now, he’s getting the call and that’s better for him.”

Thibodeau added that Rose is one of the toughest point guards he’s seen, which says a lot given his 20 seasons on the NBA sidelines.

“He’s got great toughness, and it’s both physical and mental,” Thibodeau said of Rose. “Even when he’s not getting calls, he doesn’t allow that frustration to get to him. He’ll continue to drive and he’s always in an attack mode. Like I said, all season he’s gotten much better defensively. I think he’s playing a complete game for us.”

Possible departure of Hamilton could benefit Gordon

It’s been a tough year for former Bull Ben Gordon and the Detroit Pistons, who entered Monday’s game with a 12-24 record, including a 3-16 mark on the road.

“[We’re] just trying to catch a break,” said Gordon of Detroit’s struggles. “It’s been tough for everybody here, especially me. It’s just one of those years we need to continue to find a way to work thought it. That’s pretty much my approach.”

Though he’s had an opportunity to start 12 of his 36 games, Gordon’s numbers are down considerably. He’s averaging a career low 11.8 points per game and admitted he’s been confused at times about his role.

However, the possible departure of shooting guard Rip Hamilton—reportedly rumored to be part of a three-team deal involving 15 players that would send Carmelo Anthony to the New Jersey Nets—could make the Pistons’ crowded backcourt a little more spacious.

“I don’t think it’s been affecting guys too much,” Gordon said of the recent speculation. “It’s part of the business. If something does change, I think right now we probably do need a change because we’re not playing to our full potential as a team. If something happens, everyone will be prepared for it.”

Audio—Pistons guard Ben Gordon’s pregame comments (01.10.11):

Boozer one of four in NBA to average double-double

Carlos Boozer has posted nine double-doubles in his last 11 games, and is presently averaging 20.3 ppg and 10.0 rpg. He joins Blake Griffin, Kevin Love and Dwight Howard as the only players in the NBA who are currently averaging at least 20.0 ppg and 10.0 rpg. Boozer has averaged at least 20.0 ppg and 10.0 rpg twice in his career (2006-07, 2007-08).

Bulls vs. Pistons season notes

In their home opener on Oct. 30, the Bulls beat the Pistons 101-91 for their eighth straight win over Detroit and ninth in a row at the United Center against the Pistons … Chicago swept last year’s season series with the Pistons for the first time since the 1995-96 season, when they went 4-0 … in their four games last season Chicago averaged 105.0 ppg, while Detroit posted 90.5 ppg … over their last 18 contests, Chicago has gone 15-3 against Detroit during the regular season … the Bulls have not lost to the Pistons at the United Center since Feb. 24, 2006 (95-87) … last season against Detroit, Derrick Rose averaged 21.0 ppg, 7.0 apg and 3.3 rpg, while Richard Hamilton averaged 17.7 ppg, 3.7 apg and 1.3 rpg against Chicago … former Bull Ben Gordon tallied 10.5 ppg and shot .368 from downtown in four games last year against the Bulls … the last time Detroit defeated Chicago was at the Palace in their first meeting during the 2008-09 season (12/23/08) behind a 40-point performance from guard Rodney Stuckey.

Audio—Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau’s pregame comments (01.10.11):

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