It was definitely tough-guy talk coming from Derrick Rose late Tuesday night.
Maybe it was out of anger fresh off a 2-for-15 shooting night in the 14-point loss to the Brooklyn Nets, maybe it was the reality that teams are now suddenly daring the one-time MVP to beat them from long range, or maybe Rose knows something that very few around him do.
In his eyes, there’s a day of reckoning coming.
“Oh yeah, and I’m going to have 40-point games, so I’m not worried about that,’’ Rose said very defiantly, when informed that teams will continue to allow him to shoot from outside.
Rose is definitely betting on himself. The opposition, however, is betting on the numbers.
For the season, Rose is now shooting a dismal 26.3 percent from beyond the three-point line, after going a combined 1-for-12 the last two games from out there.
In the plus/minus category – a stat that coach Tom Thibodeau really studies – his point guard is 77th in the league and sixth on his own team, overall with a plus-77. He’s fourth in plus-minus per game with a plus-3.5, trailing Jimmy Butler, Pau Gasol and Kirk Hinrich.
In other words, he’s not there yet. On some nights, not even close.
According to Rose, the Pacers exclusively went under screens on the pick-and-roll, daring him into jumpers. It’s a copycat league, so the Nets gave Rose the same treatment a night later. Brooklyn was so confident in Rose misses that even when the guard was free-throw line extended they were going under screens.
Ten footers weren’t even Rose’s friend.
But rather than saying he needs to make better decisions, whether that means simply re-posting the big or swinging the ball to a pick-and-roll on the other side of the floor, Rose all but promised that teams won’t be able to do that to him much longer.
“I’m just trying to read the game,’’ Rose said. “It’s just that I’m not making any shots. If I was making shots we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
“I’m playing the way I normally play. We were on a seven-game winning streak, lost [Tuesday], and I’m still going to continue to play the way I normally play. If they give me open shots and are going under [screens], I have to shoot those open shots. Just getting reps up. I think that’s the last part of my game that I’m missing.’’
Thibodeau has constantly been preaching that Rose needs to attack the paint, and while there seems to be games and quarters where he does that exclusively – with great success – he then seems to inexplicably revert back to the player settling for jumpers.
It’s like flashes of greatness, followed by frustration.
“I can’t control peoples’ thoughts,’’ Rose said. “People are going to think what they want to think, do what they want to do. As far as a basketball player, all I can do is go out there and try and win the game. We have a great team. Certain nights it’s going to be like that, where I have 30 or whatever. I can’t play the way people want me to play. They want me to score 40 points every night. If I can score 15 and still win the game, it’s a good win for me.
“It’s just that when I start making the shots that I’m taking, it’s going to be a real simple game where it’s going to be pick your poison.’’
The wait continues.