Derrick Rose will keep shooting.
That was obvious Thursday.
In the Bulls’ 106-101 victory over the Denver Nuggets in which he fired up 25 shots on his way to 17 points and at the start of his post-game media session in which he insisted he’d keep shooting.
“I’m not going to allow anyone to dictate the way that I play,’’ Rose said. “They give me shots; I’m going to take them. I could care less about what anyone says about my game. They’re giving me shots. I should be able to make the shots.’’
He should. But he’s not.
Rose did go 5-for-11 and had 13 points in the last 7:48, but in his last three games, he’s 14-for-60 (23 percent) from the field, and his decision-making has been questionable.
Asked if passing the ball more until he works out of the slump has crossed his mind, Rose said, “People before me that played this game, that achieved so much in this game, the mentality, that’s what changed people. My mentality is not going to change. I’m going to shoot the ball; I’m a scoring guard. And it’s mid-range. It’s not like I’m shooting a bunch of threes. [On Thursday], they didn’t go in, but at the end, some of them did.’’
One shot in the fourth quarter that went in even had Rose glaring at the Nuggets’ bench. At first, it was thought that a player had been chirping at Rose, but he said it was their coaches.
“Players don’t talk to me during the game,’’ Rose said. “I think it was the coaches. I heard the coaches saying something, and I just got caught up in the game.’’
Asked if they mockingly told him to keep shooting, Rose said, “They were just telling them how to defend me, and I just made a shot.’’
The good news for the Bulls (23-10) is that even during this rough patch from Rose, they’re 2-1. They can thank Kirk Hinrich and Pau Gasol, who had nine blocks, for this latest win.
After missing five games with a bad hamstring, Hinrich went 4-for-4 from the field for 10 points.
“Yeah, a lot,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said when asked if Hinrich is underrated outside the team. “With Kirk, you can play him at the point or the two. Play him with everyone. He guards everybody, gives your team a lot of toughness.’’
But it always seems to be about Rose these days — good or bad. That’s the price of being the face of the franchise. Every shot and miss is examined and re-examined.
So while Jimmy Butler led the team with 26 points, Rose again was the focus after the game.
“Players go through [shooting slumps],’’ Thibodeau said. “[Rose] won’t be the first or last player to go through one. As long as he’s shooting properly and they’re the right shots, you go through the process. He’s gotta work his way out of it.’’
And he knows how.
“I’m not going to stop shooting, man,’’ Rose said.