Rose learns Pistons-Bulls history from Thomas

  • Detroit Pistons' Derrick Rose dribbles during a game against the Pacers on Oct. 23 in Indianapolis. The former Bull returned to the United Center for the third time Friday.

    Detroit Pistons' Derrick Rose dribbles during a game against the Pacers on Oct. 23 in Indianapolis. The former Bull returned to the United Center for the third time Friday. Associated Press

Updated 11/1/2019 7:53 PM

Now that he plays for the Detroit Pistons, Derrick Rose has heard all about the great rivalry from fellow Chicago native Isiah Thomas.

Was it a biased account? Probably. The Bulls-Pistons rivalry from roughly 1985-91 might have been the most intense in league history that didn't involve the Celtics or Lakers.


"I didn't really understand until I got there and he (Thomas) was the only one who beat MJ in his prime," said Rose, who signed with the Pistons as a free agent this summer. "And he was a point guard, so being in that spot and understanding the spot he was in, the load he took on every night, I think being here I appreciate him even more.

"Having conversations with him and understanding who he is as a person and as a player and the principals he stood on, I realize it and understand it's Chicago, the way he was brought up, his mentality. He's just a winner and after talking to him I see why."

The Bulls and Pistons met in the playoffs four years in a row from 1988-91. Detroit won the first three meetings and went on to win NBA titles in 1989 and '90. The Bulls finally got past the Pistons in the 1991 Eastern Conference finals, then won the first of three straight championships.

"I just love the way (Detroit) already has embraced him," Thomas said in The Detroit News this week. "Hearing his name chanted in the arena, his competitive attitude that he always brings to the game.

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"When you lose, it's just not good. Any of the Chicago players, the one thing we bring to the table is a competitiveness."

Numbers game:

Derrick Rose was asked at Friday's shootaround if he'd like to see his jersey retired by the Bulls someday.

Rose had a relatively brief, impressive run with the Bulls, becoming the youngest player to win MVP in 2010-11. He was traded to the Knicks in the summer of 2016 after several injury-shortened seasons in Chicago.

"It's not up to me to really think about that, it's not up to me to determine that," he said. "It's up to the front office and (chairman) Jerry (Reinsdorf) and them to do that. I'm from here, who wouldn't want their jersey up there with Mike and everybody up there, but it's not up to me to decide that."

Friday's game was the third time Rose returned to the United Center as a visiting player. He came back once with the Knicks and last season with Minnesota, won both games and scored 15 and 24 points, respectively.

"I'm a product of the city. It always feels great being back here, feel the love and feel the excitement that's going on in the city. I wish the weather was a little bit better, but it is what it is."

Bulls horns:

Coach Jim Boylen said he expects forward Chandler Hutchison (hamstring) to practice with the team Saturday, but he's not sure if the second-year pro will make his season debut Sunday at Indiana. ... Pistons leading scorer Blake Griffin has yet to play this season due to a knee injury but is expected back soon.


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