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Saturday December 4, 2010 11:17 PM

Rose A Rockets Heartbreaker Once More

Bulls' star hits buzzer-beater, leads club to 119-116 OT victory

Jason Friedman
Rockets.com

HOUSTON - The Rockets were ready to put the finishing touches on their finest week of the season.

They had nearly completed a stirring second half comeback against the Chicago Bulls, filled with one big shot after another, the latest a fantastic finish at the rim by Kyle Lowry to put Houston up 107-102 with 36 seconds left. The only thing left to be done was to take care of business at the free throw line and celebrate a week also filled with wins over the Thunder, Lakers and Grizzlies.

But the charity stripe wasn’t in a giving mood, as both Lowry and Brad Miller could only hit 1-of-2 on their respective trips, leaving Chicago a window of opportunity, trailing by 3 with 10 seconds to go. And much to the Rockets’ chagrin, that was the only opening Derrick Rose required, as the Bulls’ star drilled a game-tying triple as time expired, then sparked Chicago in overtime, lifting his club to a stunning 119-116 victory.

It was a crushing ending to a game that had all the markings of a contest that would serve as yet another sign that the resurgent Rockets were back on track. After falling behind by 14 points in the first half, Houston came storming back thanks to tremendous performances from Luis Scola (27 points, 8 rebounds) and Miller, who torched his former team with 20 points, 10 of which came in the final frame when the Rockets made their bid to complete a comeback that would have given Houston its first 3-game winning streak of the young season.

Instead, Rose ruined the Rockets’ night, as he has done so many times before. Indeed, something about Rockets’ red seems to spark Chicago’s talismanic young point guard, who finished the contest with 30 points, 11 assists, 7 rebounds and 5 steals. To wit, Rose is shooting 72.7 percent from 3 versus Houston this season after knocking down 4-of-6 from downtown Saturday night, while connecting at a meager rate of 28.8 percent against the rest of the league.

Yet even after Rose’s heroics at the end of regulation, the Rockets refused to back down, even taking the lead at the 2:06 mark of overtime following a Scola jump hook. But once more it was Rose to the rescue, as the Chicago star answered with a trey and another bucket to give the Bulls a 118-116 lead with 1:16 remaining. From there, Houston simply couldn’t conjure any more magic, as Miller came up empty on a trio of 3s in the final minute, leaving the Rockets to miserably contemplate what might have been.

“It came down to (Rose’s) shot,” said Lowry, who finished with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals. “He hit a big time shot and made big time plays all night. We played hard and gave a valiant effort and showed what we can do. We have to make our move now. This is the time we need to get back to .500 before the All-Star break.”

QUOTES

Rick Adelman, Houston head coach:

Q: On the game.
A: This was a very tough loss for us. We had a chance to win it and didn't.

Q: On the end of regulation.
A: It was hard to communicate that to them (to foul Rose). We didn't foul him with seven to 10 seconds to go and it allowed him to pass it and then get the ball back. Give him credit, he made a really tough shot. However, letting them get two offense rebounds and missing a couple of free throws were also a part of it.

Kyle Lowry, Houston guard:

Q: On the overtime.
A: Derrick made a great shot at the end of regulation. We also missed a couple of free throws, myself included, and didn't close it out the way we should have. We were up five and even more than that with a minute and half to go. We have to learn how to close it out. You can't give up offense rebounds like that.

Q: On Derrick Rose's game.
A: It came down to his shot. He hit a big time shot and made big time plays all night. We played hard and gave a valiant effort and showed what we can do. We have to make our move now. This is the time we need to get back to .500 before the All-Star break.

Luis Scola, Houston forward/center:

Q: On the end of regulation.
A: I was with Boozer at the end. We made a lot of mistakes at the end of the game. We missed a couple of free throws and let them get a couple of offense rebounds for put backs. Overtime is only five minutes and we couldn't recover. We should have won the game.

Shane Battier, Houston forward:

Q: On the game.
A: This was a funny game from the start. However, give Derrick Rose credit, he took a big three from about 38 feet under pressure and made it. He beat the odds tonight.

Q: On their play this year.
A: This game is like the season. We have had a slow start. We have had to adjust to new guys in the lineup with Yao and Aaron out. Now we are settled into a routine. We could be 4-1 this week instead of 3-2. We just need to work now on getting back to .500. We need to win games like this. Something like nine of our 13 losses we had a lead in the fourth quarter. We just need to play sound basketball for four quarters.

Tom Thibodeau- Chicago coach:

Big time play by a big time player at the end?
“Derrick Rose was terrific. In the 1st half, he set the tone with his defense. He really competed hard. I liked our defense in the 1st half. In the 2nd half, our fouling and not enough ball pressure hurt us. That team can score the ball. They have a lot of weapons and spread you out. They are good with the shot fake and they sell their calls. In the end we did what we had to do. Our pick and roll defense is something we have to work on and clean up.”

Second chance baskets by Houston hurt you in the 2nd half?
“Yes, in the 1st half our defensive rebounding helped us set the pace and give us scoring opportunities. Also we had good ball movement in the 1st half. Carlos Boozer is obviously getting more comfortable. He is a guy you can throw the ball into and other guys are going to get opportunities off that.”

In the 2nd half when Houston came back, you settled for jump shots:
“They made it a little more difficult to get it inside. That is a credit to their defense. We have to be able to get to our 2nd and 3rd option. There are other ways to get a score if it is not a post up play. Off the pick and roll, you do not have to settle for the jump shot. You can duck in and have a 2nd and 3rd pass off that and still get the ball in the paint.”

In the 4th quarter, it looked like you made an effort to get the ball to Carlos Boozer:
“Each game he has gotten better and better and more comfortable. Against Boston he had several offensive plays that were real good basketball plays. You could see his instincts taking over. Today his offense was very good and his rebounding effort was much better. We as a team have to work on our defense especially our pick and roll defense.”

Is that why you went with Taj to start the overtime?
“I was looking at Houston running the high pick and roll. We were having trouble with it and Taj has been doing pretty well defending it. I was also concerned a little bit about Carlos Boozer's minutes.”

Looks like the rest of the team is getting comfortable with Carlos Boozer:
“The more minutes they play together, the more they will be able to learn about each other, like where he gets the ball. Once Carlos knocked down a couple of shots, you could see his confidence grow. He was good in the pick and roll and the more minutes they have together, especially Derrick, they will get a feel for what they like to do. I think they're getting a feel for what we are trying to do defensively as well.”

Derrick was not to be denied at the end:
“Derrick had a great edge today right from the start of the game. The thing that I liked was that he was attacking on defense. In a normal game he is always attacking on offense. When he is attacking on defense, it makes our defense totally different. Each day he shows you more and more. That game was his will. It looked like we were going nowhere and he willed that win. He has seen a lot of different defenses and he is starting to learn and understand to attack the different defenses. On offense he is learning to find opportunities for his teammates and also pick his spots when he is looking to score.”

Joakim Noah:

“We obviously have a long way to go, but it feels good to get a win. We were down in the dumps. Brad played a hell of a game. He texted me last night that he was going to bed early. That right there, I knew we had to be on edge because the Duck was going to come ready to play. I was talking to him at the free throw line and I distracted him and he missed a huge free throw and gave us a chance and D Rose did the rest.”

On Derrick Rose:
“Derrick is definitely someone who wants the ball in pressure situations. I think if I hadn't given him the ball in theat situation, he wouldn't have talked to me for days. I tried to get him the ball in that type of situation and he usually delivers.”

Derrick Rose:

“We played hard in the 1st half. In the 2nd half we kind of eased up and they came back. But a win is a win.”

It must have felt good after your big shot?
“I think that was the first time I've celebrated this whole year after I shot a shot. It felt good, knowing that I'm capable of knocking down shots like that.”

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