Long before his nasty fall to the court captured the concern of Bulls fans, Derrick Rose set a personal milestone Monday against Indiana.
He received the first technical foul of his NBA career from Jason Phillips at the 4:53 mark of the second quarter.
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"That was my first one ever," Rose said with a laugh. "High school, grammar school, college ever. It hurt."
Ever since he joined the Bulls, it has been a mystery how Rose can drive to the basket as often as he does and be rewarded with so few free-throw attempts.
He shot just 3 against the Pacers, but maybe standing up for himself can pay off. The first time he drove to the basket after the technical, he got a whistle and 3-point play.
"I said it was some b.s," Rose said. "It took them awhile to give me the tech. I thought it was over with. I guess it got to him. I'm running back down the court and he called it."
Coach Tom Thibodeau was diplomatic when assessing his star player's first technical foul.
"I don't like to see anyone get technicals and at least from what I saw it didn't appear like it was overly demonstrative or anything like that," Thibodeau said. "I think at the appropriate time he has to make a point to the officials.
"I think Derrick's very respectful of the game, the officials and everything. When he's complaining, usually it's legitimate."
Rose, though, vowed it will never happen again.
"Next time I've just got to hold it in and hopefully I won't get any more techs, because I need that (fine) money," he joked. "There's a recession out here."
Watson ready and waiting:
If Derrick Rose is unable to play against Toronto, C.J. Watson will get the start at point guard.
In his only start this season, Watson scored 33 points at Denver. The Bulls ended up losing on a shot at the buzzer but could have clinched the win with a free throw or a defensive rebound in the final 15 seconds.
Watson has just one other double-figure scoring game this season, with 13 points at Dallas on Nov. 19.
"C.J. has done a really good job for us," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "When he's played extended minutes, he's performed extremely well. He's been a successful player in this league for a while now. So we're all confident in his ability."
Defense stays strong:
Indiana shot 35.7 percent from the field in Monday's loss to the Bulls. It was the fourth time in five games the Bulls' defense has held an opponent below 40 percent.
"We're still not there and there are a lot of things we want to improve upon," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "But I think we're doing a better job of getting back, containing the ball, helping in the paint and then closing out to the (3-point) line.
"We're becoming more of a multiple-effort team. We have rebounded the ball well all year and we've continued to do that."
The Bulls continued to shoot well from 3-point range Monday against Indiana, going 8-for-18. Luol Deng is 16-for-30 from long range since Carlos Boozer joined the lineup Dec. 1. Derrick Rose has made 18 of his last 31 shots from 3-point land. … Toronto has seven players averaging double-figure scoring. Andrea Bargnani leads at 21.3 ppg., while DeMar DeRozan, Leandro Barbosa, Jerryd Bayless, Sonny Weems, Linas Kleiza and Peja Stojakovic all are between 10.0 and 12.3 points.