Derrick Rose has promised there is ‘‘another level’’ to his game.
At this point, any level would do.
Rose was on the bench with two sprained ankles again Tuesday at the United Center, watching the Bulls defeat the Orlando Magic 98-90. Or is it a sprained left ankle and a tweaked right ankle?
Tough to tell, considering it’s hard to gauge whether Rose will play from game to game.
After leaving the Bulls’ game Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Rose was listed in the starting lineup before the game Saturday against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Then, suddenly, he was out.
He participated in practice Monday at the Advocate Center, went through the shootaround Tuesday morning and again was listed in the starting lineup before the game against the Magic. But he was scratched minutes later, leaving his number of regular-season games played since the 2012 playoffs at 12.
Still, he again spoke about better days ahead.
‘‘I still haven’t put a percentage [on it],’’ Rose said when he was asked to assess how much rust still needs to come off his game. ‘‘I don’t know if I could put a percentage on it right now. Just trying to find the rhythm of the game. I think I’ve been playing at a really good pace with just having patience, not running wild when I’m out there, just reading the game. As far as percentage, I don’t think I can put a number on it, but I think I’m close to really dictating the game, controlling the game, really, as far as on the point-guard side.’’
Rose then was asked what would happen if he had no other level. What if this Rose — inconsistent and often banged up — is the only one there is now?
‘‘No, there’s always going to be another level, I think,’’ Rose said. ‘‘I’m just knocking rust off. A lot of shots that I’m shooting right now, especially the threes — I’m missing a lot of open threes right now, but that comes with just calming down my nerves when I get the ball and shooting a normal shot.
‘‘I told you I’m going to have a game or have a lot of games this year where I’m going to hit five or six threes. [Opponents] are still going under screens and I’m still getting a lot of open shots in transition, so I know that I’m going to have a breakout game — or a lot of breakout games — where I’m shooting the ball from outside.’’
As for the Bulls who did play against the Magic, Jimmy Butler led the way with 21 points and nine rebounds in his second game back from a sprained left thumb. Pau Gasol added a double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in 41 minutes.
Afterward, though, the talk was once again about Rose.
‘‘We’re deep, and we have quality players who are ready to step up and perform,’’ Gasol said of playing without Rose and center Joakim Noah (flu). ‘‘We don’t depend on any one [player] to win and get it done. It’s a good thing. It’s a positive thing.’’