About Last Night

About Last Night: Rejuvenated Rose rolls

All the pain. All the surgeries. All the rehabs. All the frustration and setbacks. And overcoming all that, a renewed joy and triumph in the game stirred Derrick Rose on Wednesday night.

Tears rolled down his face as he exited the court. Given the ups-and-downs of his injury-plagued career, you can’t blame him for becoming emotional after his career-high, 50-point night carried the shorthanded Minnesota Timberwolves to a 128-125 win over the Utah Jazz.

For good measure, the 2011 Kia MVP sank two free throws with 13.8 seconds remaining to seal the win and secure his 50 points. He scored when it counted, dropping 34 points in the second half, including 15 in the tight fourth quarter.

“Just a lot of hard work put into my craft,” said Rose in the postgame news conference. He expressed being comfortable with coach Tom Thibodeau and the Wolves. He said Thibodeau predicts that the final stages of his career will be special. “It’s all about rhythm. … Just playing basketball and being a happy player, actually.”

It was a gratifying and joyous — even vindicating — moment for a player who less than a year ago was considering retirement after suffering an ankle injury with the Cavaliers on top of his knee problems.

Players around the NBA from LeBron James to Dwyane Wade reacted to Rose’s emotional accomplishment. They understand what he’s gone through.

Rose missed only a handful of games over his first three NBA seasons with the Bulls, a stretch that ultimately earned him the MVP award in 2011. But he played in only 39 games the following season and tore his left ACL in Chicago’s first-round playoff series, which caused him to miss the entire 2012-13 season.

After the extensive rehab and lost season, 10 games into the 2013-14 season, Rose tore his right knee meniscus and missed the rest of that season. Although Rose showed flashes during the three mostly healthy seasons that followed, he rarely had the same spring or burst.

Then Rose tore the meniscus in his left knee during the 2016-17 season with the Knicks, forcing him to undergo knee surgery for the fourth time in his career, which appeared to be in jeopardy.

Rejuvenated this season after his reunion with Thibodeau, who coached him with the Bulls, Rose is averaging 30 minutes per game of playing time with 14.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists.

No Butler

The Timberwolves rested disgruntled All-Star Jimmy Butler as they hosted the Jazz, which may have inadvertently helped Rose to his career night. Coach Tom Thibodeau called it “precautionary rest” because of general soreness. This raised eyebrows given the team’s day off Tuesday, and generated speculation that Butler is entering the hold-out phase of his plan to be traded.

Despite Butler’s good on-court performance (in games, at least) this season, Butler is hurting the Minnesota organization and diminishing his trade value around the league, says NBA writer and analyst Brian Geltzeiler.

In six games this season, Butler is averaging 22.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.0 steals. He’s played a leading role in the Wolves’ three wins thus far.

Buzzer-beater time?

It’s wasn’t a buzzer-beater, but it was about as close as you can get. Paul Millsap rebounded and put back an errant 15-foot jump shot from Nikola Jokic with 0.1 second left to give the Nuggets a 108-107 victory over the Chicago Bulls in overtime.

Jokic finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds and Millsap’s putback gave him 19 as the Nuggets improved to 6-1.

Spooktacular night

Fans around the NBA (and LeBron as Jason) weren’t afraid to don frightful or imaginative attire.

The Miami Heat even had their own “House of Horrors!” And several Warriors and Lakers arrived at their respective arenas in costumes, including James and Klay Thompson.

Another scary Warrior

It was Curry’s turn to take the spotlight for the Warriors after Klay Thompson’s record-breaking performance of 14 made threes on Monday night.

In a performance that most players would consider the pinnacle of their season, Curry scored 37 points on 12-for-20 shooting, including seven 3-pointers in the Warriors’ 131-121 win. Just another day at the office for the best shooter in the game. Only four 3-point attempts missed their mark.

Pelicans All-Star Anthony Davis returned to the lineup after missing two games with an elbow sprain. He finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds in 42 minutes.

And this happened too …

  • Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic got a signed LeBron jersey after the Lakers held off the Mavericks 114-113. Oh, and for the game, LeBron had 29 points and Doncic scored 14 points, with five rebounds and seven assists.
  • The Pacers’ Domantas Sabonis came off the bench to go 12-for-12 from field and 6-of-7 from the free-throw line to lead the Pacers past the Knicks 107-101.
  • Rookie Wendell Carter Jr., the No. 7 pick of the 2018 draft by the Bulls, had his best scoring night with 25 points and eight rebounds in the Bulls’ one-point loss to the Nuggets.
  • Andre Drummond of the Pistons garnered another big double-double with 24 points and 23 rebounds in the Pistons’ 120-119 overtime loss to the Nets.