WALTHAM -- "Everybody has their night," Kendrick Perkins said.
Saturday was, without doubt, Derrick Rose's night, as his 36 points and 11 assists wrought havoc on the Boston Celtics. Rose scored and passed in transition, he scored and passed in the half-court and generally did whatever he wanted to out of the pick-and-roll. He was, in that game, unstoppable.
And now the Celtics must find a way to stop him.
For all the ways Rose affected the game on offense, one theme was familiar to all of them: he looked comfortable. With the Celtics defense playing uncharacteristically behind and underneath the screens being left for Rose, the rookie was free to attack the paint and do what is most dangerous to Boston's playoff hopes: create.
"You almost gotta treat him like an [Allen] Iverson type of guy or a Tony Parker, especially when he's on the break," Paul Pierce said. "You gotta play him with two or three different guys, not let him get into the paint to where he's getting comfortable in getting to the rim.
"You got to be aggressive and get the ball out of his hands a little more."
Doing so may be difficult given the position he plays. But while Rose certainly is a special talent, the Celtics were doing him favors on Saturday by not playing their brand of defense. The key might be to hinder rather than stop.
"Pick-and-rolls are run every night, at every level, and it still all comes down to two things: your defensive execution and who's running the pick -and-roll," Doc Rivers said. "The reason that every team's pick-and-roll looks different is because the guy with the ball is different.
"We didn't execute our defense. That doesn't mean [Rose is] still not going to be great. But we have to do better defensively."
While the immediate responsibility is on Rajon Rondo to stay between Rose and the rim, the Bulls use pick-and-rolls at such a high volume that the Celtics as a whole must contain him. Rondo, in fact, matched Rose's offensive performance much of the way with 29 points and 7 assists, but on the other end, the first-line of defense was broken too often.
"I don't need to reach as much," Rondo said. "Just try to keep the ball in front of me and make him take contested twos. If he makes those, then my hat's off to him."
Traditionally, once you tip your cap, you move on. The conversation is over, the game is behind you and it's time for goodbyes. And as much as Rose is capable of having days like that again, it was the Celtics defense, not him, that was the aberration.
"I know it won't happen again," Perkins said. "Out here he'll never have a game like that against us again. We just got to help better. We didn't play our defense last night. It wasn't nothing that they did, it was all on us."