'Crazy' Derrick Rose takes John Wall to school
Washington's John Wall didn't have a bad game at all Monday. The former No. 1 overall draft pick produced 20 points and 6 assists.
But this was the wrong night to be matched up against Derrick Rose.
After missing potential go-ahead free throws and a last-second jumper against Miami on Sunday, Rose was ready to take out his frustrations on whomever happened to be standing in his way.
"It just makes me hungrier," Rose told reporters before the game. "Tonight, I'm going to try and go crazy."
If a season-high 35 points, 8 assists and 3 blocks -- all against Wall -- qualifies as crazy, then Rose met his goal. The Bulls built a 22-point lead in the third quarter, then fought off a mild comeback attempt to beat the Wizards 98-88 at the Verizon Center.
This was Rose's third straight 30-point game. He left no doubt about his intentions by scoring 13 points and hitting 6 of 8 shots in the first quarter.
"He comes out like it's his will," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He imposes his will on everybody."
Richard Hamilton (groin strain, thigh bruise) and Luol Deng (wrist) were both on the shelf, opening the door for Kyle Korver to score 17 points in 45 minutes.
Carlos Boozer added 18 points, while Joakim Noah delivered his fifth straight double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Questions about Noah's slow start no longer seem relevant. In the past five games, he's averaged 13.2 points, 12.6 rebounds and shot 64.1 percent from the field.
Most Bulls fans were probably willing to forgive Rose for the rough ending at Miami. There will be plenty of chances for a make-good against the Heat.
But Rose was still beating himself up before Monday's game.
"If anything, I'm just hurt for not only me, but the city of Chicago," Rose said, according to espn.com. "Knowing how big that game was, not only to me and the organization, but to the city and our fans all over.
"That's a rivalry there. And you had your best player up there, had the opportunity to take the lead, and I didn't come through. The only thing I can do is hope they can stay with me and stick with me. And I promise I won't let them down again."
As Rose kept talking about the misses in Miami, the future of the Bulls was getting brighter.
"That's something I live for," he said. "I think of my legacy. I want people to think of me as being a clutch player; someone that always comes through the majority of the time when they're on the court. It hurt a little bit, but I know it will help me in the long run.
"I like seeing my city happy, especially if I'm one of the reasons why. I know what we went through after Mike (Jordan) left and all the years that people really didn't watch the Bulls. For them to start watching the Bulls and for the organization to get our fans back, it means a lot to me. Knowing that when you see people, they've got Bulls hats on, Bulls apparel on. It means a lot to me."