Derrick Rose feels his Bulls team is playoff ready - flaws and all

SHARE Derrick Rose feels his Bulls team is playoff ready - flaws and all
SHARE Derrick Rose feels his Bulls team is playoff ready - flaws and all

Derrick Rose knows there’s flaws.

The defense is still inconsistent, rookie gem Nikola Mirotic still has hesitation hiccups with his shot selection, and even Rose’s own conditioning is more speculation than reality.

Ah, life in the Eastern Conference, where even glaring question marks can earn you home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

“We still have some areas [of concern],’’ Rose said, when asked about his Bulls team being playoff ready. “I think defensively, but I think we can work on that in practice and in the next game. But when we get on teams, get up on teams by 10 or 12 points, we just got to find ways to put them away right away.’’

Defense and locking teams down might be where it starts for the Bulls on their to-do list, but definitely not where it ends.

And with just one regular-season game left Wednesday night against Atlanta, and the No. 3 or No. 4 seed still hanging in the balance, it isn’t like there’s a lot of time for a dress rehearsal.

What Rose is betting on, however? Momentum. His team has won three-straight games, and done so in pretty convincing fashion in two of those wins, and even Rose has shown improvement, now having four games under his belt since missing six weeks after undergoing right knee surgery back on Feb. 27.

Sure, he’s only made one appearance in the fourth quarter because of minutes restrictions, and then the blowout in Brooklyn Monday night, but Rose doesn’t seem concerned with his conditioning – or there lack of.

“I always joke around to my friends, and this is no disrespect to Kurt Thomas, but he played in this league for [18] years and he found a way to bring positive play to the court,’’ Rose said of those conditioning concerns. “I think I’m the same. Even if I’m not moving quick, even if I’m not shooting the ball great, you still gotta defend me because I think I can control the game with just passing.

“The only thing I think I’m missing is the fourth quarter, but I think the way I’ve been working out, I think I’m good enough to play in the fourth quarter and find my way through it.’’

He’s at least been finding his way back to the paint, showing in the 113-86 win over the Nets that he can still hit the speed-burst button and attack the rim when need be.

According to coach Tom Thibodeau, when Rose is attacking and hitting pull-up jumpers along the way, well, good luck to the opposition.

“There’s no one like him,’’ Thibodeau said, after watching the 13-point performance in 23 minutes of work. “He’s got the power, quickness, speed. It’s very unusual. I don’t know if anyone is like him in the league.

“You’re going to get good shots [with Rose out there], and I thought he did that. Again, he had a couple pull-ups that I thought got him going [against Brooklyn], and when he does that we’re going to be good.’’

Good is one thing. Great? That’s where Rose comes in.

“It’s amazing,’’ Mirotic said of having Rose back on the floor. “Mentally, too. When you see him on the court, first off we have more energy, we are feeling like everybody is there. You can see people more excited around the court with Derrick back. We have much more options. You can see guys now, we are getting ready for the playoffs and we’re playing really good basketball right now.’’

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