It’s going to take Derrick Rose some time before he gets used to the level of competition he now has to face. A great preseason doesn’t erase almost 18 months of competitive basketball. And yet through all the misses and turnovers, he hasn’t lost that fearlessness in him, helping him lead the Chicago Bulls to a 82-81 win over the New York Knicks, hitting the game winning shot with a tough floater as only 5.7 seconds remained on the clock.
The Knicks still had time to make something happen, but Carmelo Anthony missed for the second time in less than a minute in what should have been a game winner. Add that to Tyson Chandler missing one of two as the Knicks had a chance to pull away at 80-80 (instead moving up by only one point), and it was a very frustrating ending to a game in which the Knicks matched the Bulls’ defensive intensity and fit in well with the bad offensive basketball we’ve been seeing from the Bulls so far this season.
It’s not that surprising the Knicks have lost to the Bulls: They’re only 1-9 against them since Carmelo Anthony arrived, their worst record against any one team in the league (they’re 5-5 against the Heat), but to come this close in a very physical and stubborn game had nothing to do with their past problems against this team.
Rose was only 7-of-23 from the field, turning the ball over four times (compared to only 3 assists). There’s no offensive cohesion for the Bulls, and the point guard isn’t really feeling the flow of the game right now, going either too fast or too ‘on his own’ for his other teammates to help. He was only 4-of-14 from inside the paint, making it 31.8% for him when near the basket, compared to 51.6% and 9.2 points per game in the 2011-2012 season. For now, it just seems like he’s driving with all of his strength into the paint instead of doing it smartly.
But the Bulls are more than just Rose (who did lead the team with 18 points). Their defense held the Knicks to only 36% from the field in a game with 33 combined turnovers. Luol Deng scored 17 points and did an excellent job on Carmelo Anthony, stuck on 22 points, shooting 33% from the field. Tyson Chandler with his defense and rebounding kept the Knicks in the game (19 rebounds, 4 blocks).
Amare Stoudemire made his debut this season, playing only 11 minutes and scoring 5 points off the bench. The Knicks did start Andrea Bargnani who had a more efficient night, scoring 9 points on 4-of-7 from the field, but he didn’t spend too much time on the floor with the Knicks needing a lot of toughness against Joakim Noah, looking quite healthy, scoring only 6 points but grabbing 15 rebounds and dishing 5 assists, while Carlos Boozer helped with 14 points and Jimmy Butler added 11 and grabbed 10 more rebounds.
I’m not going to continue missing shots that I’m missing. I work too hard for that to happen. These shots build your résumé. It’s what leaves a mark on your legacy.