Bulls' leader a Rose by any other name

Updated 5/16/2011 8:31 PM

On the white board in the Bulls' locker room following their destruction of the Heat on Sunday night were the remnants of Tom Thibodeau's halftime discussion.

The Bulls coach had circled in red two halftime stats. One item was the Bulls' 9 turnovers.


Now, there are many ways for a coach to approach his team, but in this case Thibodeau didn't have to address the turnovers.

See, leadership comes in all shapes and sizes and manifests in just as many varieties.

For the Bulls, it's as simple as Derrick Rose confessing before his teammates that he was the problem.

"He stood up and said it was his fault and that he would fix it," Taj Gibson said of Rose, who had 4 first-half turnovers that helped the Heat get out on the run. "He's not like a lot of stars in the league. He's first to take responsibility."

The Bulls then went out and committed only a single second-half turnover. Rose had none.

"It was me (in the first half). Careless turnovers," Rose said. "You can't do that against this team. When they get in the open court they're too dangerous.

"I have to make sure I take care of the ball. I'm the point guard. I have to do way better. In the second half, I think I did a good job making sure that our turnovers were down."

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Leadership is also the league MVP making every member of the roster feel important.

On some teams when a player completely takes over a game, there's jealousy and anger over the lack of touches. But that's been rare on the Bulls this season, and most of the time Rose's teammates are happy to get out of the way and let him do his thing.

"Derrick will take what the defense gives him," said Kyle Korver. "If they take away his options he uses everyone on the floor and finds good looks for us.

"If we need a big shot then he hits a big shot. If they give him the basket then he'll go to the rim. He's the MVP for a reason.

"But he knows this is a team game and he wants the team to win. He's not about Derrick winning the game. He wants to win."

It would be enough if the Bulls just liked playing with Rose, but the truth is they also like him.

Either one is rare in a superstar. Rose has somehow managed to do both.


Even after all we've seen, Rose simply does not cease to amaze.

The glass

As for the other item on the board, it was the 47.5 percent shooting for the Heat in the first half, which didn't change in the second and they finished at 47.1.

What did change was the offensive rebounding. The Bulls had a 10-6 edge in the first half with a 14-8 advantage in second-chance points.

In the second half it was 9-0 Bulls in offensive rebounds and 17-0 in second-chance points.


It's no surprise that Rose found space off the dribble or a screen, but when Miami rotated to help with its big men, it left the boards wide open.

The Heat guards have to come down and help clean up in those situations and they didn't in Game 1, leading to that huge 31-8 edge for the Bulls in second-chance points.

That is obviously Miami's focus going into Game 2.

Deng vs. LBJ

It was apparent the Bulls would have a big coaching advantage in this series, but Miami's Erik Spoelstra did nothing Sunday to get LeBron James on the move in the half-court offense.

Credit Luol Deng with brilliant defense, and credit the refs for letting two great defensive teams play physical, but Miami tried posting James only once the entire game and he seemed less than interested.

So why wasn't James coming off screens to get the ball on the move? He's basically unstoppable in motion, and even as well as Deng has played him this season, if he doesn't deny James the ball off a pick, James is going to get anywhere he wants.

"There's no secret here," said a typically humble Deng. "He's a great player and he just missed shots he usually makes. We can't count on that again."

But it was mostly from the perimeter. Did the Bulls' swarming defense remove James' desire to get to the basket?

"They're a great defensive team and they make you take tough shots," said James, who was 5-for-15 for 15 points. "I missed a bunch of shots I usually make. It was just one of those nights."

The quote

Derrick Rose, on the Bulls' 55-34 second half, when he was 5 of 12 for 16 points: "It really wasn't me. It was defense. Our defense opened up everything."

The stat

The Heat averaged 29 free throws a game throughout the regular season and playoffs but got to the line just 15 times in Game 1.

Miami will argue chicken or egg on this, but it was mostly because the Bulls made it difficult to get near the bucket, and that removed Miami's urge to drive the lane.

And finally

From Luol Deng, who apparently missed the memo explaining how the Bulls were supposed to pretend they had no chance against the Heat: "Underdogs? We're not the underdogs. We won 62 games, more than anyone else. We have home court. Who said we're the underdogs?"

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