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Shootaround Report | Rose Impacting In More Ways Than One
In Monday night’s win, we saw the Houston Rockets attempt to take Derrick Rose out of the game.
That’s a weird thing for a team to focus on considering Rose is a bench player, but Rose isn’t your average bench player.
Rose is averaging 18.4 points, 4.4 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game while shooting 49.8 percent from the field and 48.7 percent from the 3-point line.
On paper, it looked like Houston indeed did take Rose out of the game. Rose finished with no points and shot 0-for-4 from the field. But if you watched the game, you know Rose had a huge part in its outcome. Rose was a +12 and had five assists. The Rockets would blitz or double Rose constantly, he’d just move the ball accordingly, setting up his teammates with a hockey assist.
“That’s the first thing that came to my mind (when) I saw how they’re playing me, if they can stop me, they can win the game, but I think I only shot four or five shots,” Rose said at Wednesday’s shootaround before taking on the Hornets. “I saw what they were doing and if they’re looking at me or paying attention to a bench play me, that means someone’s open on the court. Wig had a huge game. I’m not saying I did that for Wig, but when a team’s game plan is to stop especially a bench player, something’s up. . . I’m not the type of player who’s going to try to force it or just try to look for my stats. I’m going to do whatever’s easy and makes the game easy for everyone else.”
That’s the true sign of a team player, especially with how good Rose has been this season scoring the ball. When you can be effective even when another team keeps you from scoring, that’s also a sign of maturity.
“I think that’s his experience,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The way he was able to recognize what they were trying to do while also denying him, which is good. It created space for us. And then against the blitz, he stretched it out. He got rid of the ball quick and got to the second pass which opened up easy scoring opportunities for us. He’s seen a lot of different defenses. He’s not going to force anything. Derrick plays to win.”
Hornets guard Kemba Walker has been awesome this season and without him, it’s not fun to think about where this team would be.
In season No. 8, Walker is averaging 26.5 points per game, three more than his previous career high. Walker’s effective field goal percentage (counts for the 3-pointer being worth more than a 2-pointer) is at 51 percent, up more than four percent than last season.
“I think it speaks to who he is,” Thibodeau said. “ . . . Every year he’s gotten better and he’s having another monster year this year. When you score 60 points in a game, it’s a pretty amazing accomplishment. When you look at his overall game, the way he’s improved his shooting. He’s always had the great first step and he’s always been great with the ball, but the way he’s added the shooting component has really opened things up.”
When you compare Walker’s first four seasons to his last four, it’s pretty remarkable.
In his first four seasons, Walker averaged 16.3 points per game while shooting 39.5 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from the 3-point line.
Over the last four, he’s averaged 22.4 points per game while shooting 43.5 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from the 3-point line.
“When you look back at Kemba coming out of college, he had a great career at UConn, but at the beginning of his career, he couldn’t shoot the way he’s certainly shooting now,” Thibodeau said.
Walker will be hungry to bounce back tonight against the Wolves. In his last seven games, he’s shot just 37.5 percent from the field and 26.1 percent from the 3-point line.
Rebounding Is King
The Wolves have outrebounded their opponents in eight of their last 12 games. That’s helped lead to Minnesota pushing the ball up the court and the team taking advantage of defenses that aren’t so ready immediately.
“It makes us a totally different team,” Rose said. “We know what we can become if we get guys to really miss and put them in a situation where they have to sprint back instead of being lackadaisical or nonchalant running back.”
The rebounding battle Wednesday night will be one to watch. Both of the teams are averaging 43.9 rebounds per game.
Dario Saric was huge in Minnesota’s comeback win over the Rockets on Monday, shooting 3-for-4 from the 3-point line. This was just two days after he was 0-for-4 from deep.
Does having an 0-for game impact Saric’s confidence at all?
“I think a little bit affect it, of course,” Saric said. “I’m a human and when I miss a couple shots or the third one, I’m more worried than usually. As the shooters say, you need to keep up and play until the next one and whether you’re 5-5 or 0-5.”
Saric shot 39.3 percent from the 3-point line last season.
Keep on shooting.