Mind over matter for Bulls’ Rose


Jan 28

Just two days after spending several hours at the hospital with a pair of stomach ulcers, Derrick Rose was back in action as the Bulls scored an impressive 99-90 victory over Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic on Friday.

“I’m glad we came out and played hard,” said Rose, who managed 22 points, 12 assists and six rebounds. “There were times when they got the lead and we kept fighting back into the game. All of the other people on the team came up and played huge. This was my first time touching a ball in three days. It was tough, but if you want to be tough in this league, you have to fight through pain. It’s mind over matter.”

With Rose–who became the first Bulls player since Michael Jordan to be named an All-Star starter this week–on the court, Chicago improved to 32-14 on the season and recorded their 12th win in 14 home games.

“Taking everything into consideration, you can’t say enough about him,” said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau of Rose. “It is amazing the way he plays. He plays so hard and is taking hits all the time. The thing I respect about his is he always gets up. He gets knocked down, no call. He gets up and attacks the basket next time down. You cannot say enough about that attitude.”

Rose admitted sporting that attitude on Friday wasn’t easy.

“It was hard,” Rose said of playing. “Every time I swallow, it hurts. It was tough, but nobody cares about that, especially when you’re out there. They’re going to try and kill you. Tonight I just tried to play my usual game, be aggressive and get in my groove.”

Meanwhile, it was no given he’d play after enduring severe pain most of the week and being limited to mostly fluids.

“I’ll suck it up, just go out there and play,” Rose had said before the game. “I feel alright. It’s basketball and I think that I can fight through it.

“I know my teammates have my back,” Rose added. “The coaching staff has my back. I’m just going to go out there and give it my all.”

In the end of course, it was worth it as Rose and Luol Deng, who scored 24 of his 26 points in the second half, helped Chicago avenge its worst loss of the season. On Dec. 1, in Carlos Boozer’s Bulls debut, the Magic blew out the Bulls, 107-78.

“It was great,” said Rose of getting back at the Magic. “That was one of the reasons that I played. I know I’m sick but at least I wanted to give my all out there. I’ll probably pass out or something, but I was going to play in this game. It’s a very important win. They smacked us both times we played them this year. For us to come out and play the way we played should build up our confidence.”

Prior to the game, Rose said he hoped that adrenaline would carry him through, but wasn’t sure it would be enough. When asked how he felt after participating in the team’s shootaround Friday morning, Rose answered with honesty.

“Terrible,” Rose admitted. “It was tough. It made me think about Joakim [Noah] and when he comes back. How is he going to play after taking so many weeks off? But hopefully I’ll be alright tonight. We’re just trying to get this win.”

Despite giving it a go, Rose was realistic about what might be physical limitations, saying that if he wasn’t as effective as he needed to be, he would remove himself from the game.

“If I’m out there hurting too bad and I can’t take the pain, I’ll come out,” said Rose.

Rose’s troubles began to heighten on Tuesday, when he should have been enjoying his first of three straight non-game days.

“I felt like I was having a heart attack where I couldn’t breathe,” said Rose, who went to the hospital the next day accompanied by his family.

He spent the majority of the day there undergoing various tests, including an endoscopy. While he’s been limited by the amounts he can eat and drink, the good news is that his condition should improve very quickly, assuming Rose’s medications work and he is careful with his diet.

One reported asked tongue in cheek if Rose feared other players being critical on Twitter if the scenario arrives in which he pulls himself from the game.

“No, I think I’ve paid my dues in this league just a little bit,” laughed Rose. “I’ve played through some tough injuries, falls, and still went out there and played.”

Audio—Bulls guard Derrick Rose on facing the Magic (01.28.11):

Forever Young

Since Joakim Noah went out with a right hand, right thumb injury, Kurt Thomas has been holding down the paint for Chicago just fine. In 20 starts, Thomas is averaging 6.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.00 spg, and 1.30 bpg and shooting .524 from the field and .643 from the line.

Over his last five games, Thomas has had two games with 10 or more boards and one game with 20 or more points. He’s posting 10.0 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.40 bpg, while shooting .600 from the field.

Thomas, the second-oldest active player in the NBA, is also only eight games away from becoming the 96th player in NBA history to appear in 1000 games (currently has appeared in 992 games).

Bulls vs. Magic season notes

Over the last five seasons against the Magic, Chicago is 6-13 (.316) … the Bulls have not won at Orlando since their 100-76 win on March 8, 2007 … the Magic claimed the season series last year for the fourth year in a row by going 2-1 versus Chicago; the Bulls’ lone win against Orlando last year occurred Jan. 2, in a 101-93 win at the United Center … Orlando leads the all-time series with the Bulls 41-37 … the Bulls are 23-18 versus the Magic in Chicago … the Magic outscored the Bulls last year 103.7 ppg to 90.0 … in three games versus the Bulls last season, Dwight Howard averaged 13.0 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 1.67 bpg and 1.3 apg in 26.0 mpg …. Chicago is 2-4 versus Orlando in overtime games.

Audio—Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau’s pregame comments (01.28.11):

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