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Wednesday November 17, 2010 1:28 AM

Rose Ruins Rockets' Night

Bulls' star explodes in fourth quarter, lifts Chicago to 95-92 win

Jason Friedman
Rockets.com

HOUSTON - Life isn’t fair example 1,386: sometimes even the right thing can turn out to be woefully wrong.

That was the not-so-friendly reminder Derrick Rose delivered to Houston Tuesday night.

Houston’s strategy for dealing with the Bulls’ brilliant young point guard was sound. Its execution of said strategy was, by and large, well done. And, in the end, absolutely none of it mattered.

Showcasing the skills that have transformed him into one of the top young talents in the game today, Rose went off for a game-high 33 points, 17 of which came during the decisive fourth quarter, as Chicago came from behind to knock off the Rockets 95-92.

That Rose exploded offensively was not a huge surprise – he did, after all, come into the game ranked 8th in the NBA in scoring. Rather, it was how he went about racking up his points that most definitely caught the Rockets off guard.

Knowing Rose to be a career 24 percent 3-point shooter, the Rockets’ game plan was to do everything possible to keep the third-year point guard on the perimeter and limit his deadly penetration as much as humanly possible. In other words, Houston wasn’t merely content to see Rose fire away from beyond the arc – the Rockets practically placed a welcome mat and all-you-can-eat buffet on the 3-point line and told the 22-year-old to make himself at home and stay as long as he liked.

So, naturally, in this season which has thus far seen the Rockets repeatedly roll snake eyes, Rose knocked down 4-of-5 from beyond the arc on the evening. What’s more, his scorching shooting stroke sparked Chicago to an 18-0 run to start the fourth quarter, erasing the Rockets’ 8-point lead with the greatest of ease.

“Give Derrick Rose a lot of credit,” said Shane Battier after the game. “The game plan was to go under on pick and rolls, and he made us pay. That’s the danger your run into. He’s too good going to the basket if you give him an advantage. If you trail him on the pick and rolls and he’s able to turn the corner, then he’s going to get your big guys in foul trouble or finish. With him you have to pick your poison, and we sort of died by the 3-point shot that we gave him.”

Chicago’s fourth quarter domination capped a bizarre contest which saw the Rockets assume complete control of the odd numbered periods while the Bulls had their way with the evens. Explaining away such a phenomenon with just a single reason is likely too simplistic, but there’s no question the Bulls’ massive advantage off the bench played a significant role in Chicago’s mastery of the second and fourth quarters. The Bulls’ reserves outscored Houston’s by a whopping 29-8 margin, and that disparity was largely responsible for Rockets head coach Rick Adelman’s decision to play his starters major minutes Tuesday night. With no cavalry coming for Houston’s starting five, it’s quite possible the Rockets were therefore undone, at least in part, by the Bulls’ fresher legs.

Also not helping matters: a pair of Kyle Lowry buckets – one of which was a miraculous desperation heave from some 30-feet away – in the fourth quarter which were eventually taken off the scoreboard when instant replay revealed the ball had not left his hand before the 24-second clock expired. The correct calls were eventually made, so it does no good complaining about any sort of injustice incurred. But there’s also no question it had to be deflating for a team to see 5 points retroactively removed while the club was doing everything it could to scratch and claw its way back into the game.

That said, the disallowed field goals were indicative of a much larger problem for Houston: the Rockets were forced to repeatedly hoist shots at the tail end of the 24-second clock because their offense had grown stagnant. Rectify that problem, and reviews wouldn’t even have become a part of the conversation.

“We can’t just look for excuses all the time,” said Luis Scola, who was once again sensational in defeat, totaling 27 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks. “The reviews, fatigue, injuries… you just have to go out there and win games. We may be looking for excuses all day long and we may find them and they may be valid, but what’s the purpose? We need to win games, regardless.

“We don’t need to win games in a perfect situation. You will have ups and downs and you will have bad situations you need to play through. That’s what makes really good teams and we want to be a really good team, so you can’t keep looking for excuses.”

Scola knows as well as anyone: life in the NBA isn’t always fair. There will be nights when you follow the game plan and still get burned. But he knows this as well: there are always areas that require improvement. Diligently take care of those, and you’ll eventually get what you deserve far more often than not.

QUOTES

RICK ADELMAN

(On the game) “It was a disappointing loss. Our guys played really hard. We just had a period in the second quarter and a period in the fourth quarter where we just couldn’t get anything going. We had a lull and they (Bulls) got two different leads on us. We came back at the end of the game but we can’t keep giving them leads. It was really our own doing. We didn’t move the ball as well as we would’ve liked but tough loss.”

(On Derrick Rose) “He was shooting twenty something percent of 3’s going into the game. He did that to us last year. I don’t know if it was 3’s but he made a lot of jump shots last year against us. When he gets up high he’s just so quick. He attacks the basket. We thought we were going to go under on him but he proves us wrong.”

SHANE BATTIER

Unfortunately the same story: the fourth quarter did us in. I thought we played great up until the start of the fourth, then we just came out and they hit some tough shots. Give Derrick Rose a lot of credit – the game plan was to go under on pick and rolls, and he made us pay. That’s the danger your run into. He’s too good going to the basket if you give him an advantage. If you trail him on the pick and rolls and he’s able to turn the corner, then he’s going to get your big guys in foul trouble or finish. With him you have to pick your poison, and we sort of died by the 3-point shot that we gave him.

(on the 2 baskets the Rockets had taken away after reviews in the fourth quarter): That’s a lot of point. I’ve never had that happen before. But that’s the beauty of technology: if this were 1986 we would have won the game.

LUIS SCOLA

We keep doing the same mistakes. (Winning is) not going to happen just because we play hard. You have to play hard, you have to play smart and you have to play right.

(on the 2 baskets the Rockets had taken away after reviews in the fourth quarter): They reviewed it, they have the right to do it, it’s in the rules. The camera doesn’t lie. I’m not going to complain about that. The truth is, we put ourselves in that situation. We could have played a better offense and if we shoot it with 3 seconds left on the clock then there would be no review. We can’t put anything on the refs. They do the best they can and we never lose because of them. We lose because we made a lot of mistakes. The 18-0 run that they did just killed us.

(did fatigue play a factor at all?): We can’t just look for excuses all the time. The review, fatigue, injuries… you just have to go out there and win games. We may be looking for excuses all day long and we may find them and they may be valid, but what’s the purpose? We need to win games, regardless. We don’t need to win games in a perfect situation. You will have ups and downs and you will bad situations you need to play through. That’s what makes really good teams and we want to be a really good team, so you can’t keep looking for excuses.

KEVIN MARTIN

(On the play of Derrick Rose) “He had an unbelievable stretch. You want him taking 3s and you’ve just got to live and die by it and we died by it in the beginning of the 4th (quarter). You get up on him and he goes right by you. We were frustrated about that but we can’t let it affect us at the other end.”

(On Chicago’s defense guarding him) “I’ve seen a lot of defenses that tried to take me out of the game but I definitely have to rank that one ( Chicago) as number one. The head coach over there did a phenomenal job.”

BULLS COACH TOM THIBODEAU

(on his team's play) “I thought we played with a lot of resilience. Our bench was terrific and gave us energy and the spark we needed. Derrick was Derrick and he took over the game in the fourth quarter. He attacks the basket and when he attacks the basket, he is very difficult to guard. He was very aggressive when he came in the fourth quarter. We made big free throws down the stretch.”

(on Derrick Rose's play) “He plays so hard every game. He hasn't been getting to the free throw line very much and he was attacking the basket harder and it did a lot of good things for our team.”

(on the two shot replays) “I love it! I love it! It was good fortune and it worked to our favor.”

DERRICK ROSE

(on the game and his play) “Whatever it takes to try and win for my team, I'll do it. They were leaving me open and I was shooting the ball well.”

(on the fourth quarter) “I was so frustrated when I got my fourth foul in the third quarter. I guess in the fourth quarter, I did what I am suppose to do. I had to do something. I concentrated on stopping them or scoring the ball. Me attacking the basket and our defense picked up at the end.”

(on the win) “Definitely it was a nice win against a team playing with some of their players out. We stuck through it and got the win. Taking over the game or whatever it takes for us to win.”

JOAKIM NOAH

(on the game) “We went through some adversity and came back in the fourth quarter. Derrick (Rose) took over the game and played huge for us. He’s very hard to stop. This was a big road win. We took a hard punch in the third quarter. Our bench played really well.”

(on Rose's play) “Derrick Rose is really fun to watch and I'm just happy he's on the Bulls.”

NOTES

Tonight’s attendance of 18,158 marks the second sellout for the Rockets this season.

The Rockets lost 95-92 to the Bulls tonight, marking Houston’s fourth consecutive loss to Chicago.

Both teams turned the ball over 20-plus times (Rockets 23, Bulls 20) tonight. The Rockets, who forced 20 turnovers for their first time this season, forced at least 20 turnovers in eight games in 2009-10. The Bulls in the process set Houston’s opponent season high with 12 steals tonight.

The Bulls set Houston’s opponent season low in free throw percentage by going just .536 (15-28 FT) from the line.

The Houston bench was outscored by a 29-8 count tonight by the Chicago reserves. The Rockets reserves took a 45-19 scoring edge over the Bulls bench last season vs. Chicago (1/23/10).

Houston scored a season-low 41 points (17-40 FG) in the first half tonight, including 15 second-quarter points (7-19 FG). The Rockets then outscored the Bulls by a 30-14 count in the third quarter.

Luis Scola posted 27 points (11-17 FG, 5-6 FT), five rebounds, three assists, two steals and a career-high-tying two blocked shots tonight. Scola recorded 24 points (9-18 FG, 6-8 FT), eight boards and career-high-tying five assists in the prior game at New York (11/14/10).

Brad Miller finished with 21 points (8-15 FG, 4-4 FT) and five rebounds tonight. Miller had 25 points (9-14 FG, 2-2 3FG, 5-5 FT) and five boards with Chicago last season at Houston (1/23/10).

Kevin Martin had 18 points (5-15 FG, 7-8 FT) tonight, snapping his string of 20-point games at five straight (11/6/10-11/14/10).

Shane Battier recorded 11 points (3-9 FG), including a 3-of-7 performance from beyond the arc to set his season best in 3-point makes.

Derrick Rose led five Bulls in double-figure scoring with 33 points (13-20 FG, 4-5 3FG, 3-6 FT), seven assists and three steals tonight. Rose entered tonight’s game ranked eighth in the NBA in scoring and seventh in assists per game.

Luol Deng posted his second double-double of the season with 16 points (6-21 FG) and 10 rebounds tonight. Deng notched his first double-double off 26 points and 11 boards vs. Golden State (11/11/10).

Joakim Noah had 12 points (4-7 FG, 4-5 FT) and nine boards tonight. Noah entered tonight’s contest with a double-double in six of his last eight games.

Ronnie Brewer recorded a season-high 11 points (5-7 FG, 1-5 FT) and three steals tonight.

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