MILWAUKEE – There is a certain freedom to Derrick Rose’s game these days.
Call it the “Jimmy Butler Effect.’’
Back in the early playoff runs for the Bulls point guard it was a one-man show, staring him. Heading into tonight’s Game 3 against the Milwaukee Bucks, Rose knows he not only has a running partner in the backcourt with Butler, but add in Pau Gasol, as well as the regular role players like Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, and that’s why his life on the court has been made easier.
Then again, watching Butler average 28 points per game through the early part of this best-of-seven series would make life easier for anyone.
“Hell yeah, hell yeah,’’ Rose said before Thursday’s shootaround, when asked if he’s thought about the jump Butler has made this season. “Not only in the playoffs, but throughout the regular season. Just the confidence he has like from the previous year, just to take so many shots, and then this year to put the team on his back and still playing great. Like, c’mon man. He’s on a mission.’’
All the talk about Rose and the Bulls back in the 2010-11 playoff run was that the guard needed more help. Not enough scoring around him, especially come playoff time.
Well, Gasol has been the one drawing double-teams the first two games, and Rose was expecting Butler to now be getting more attention in Game 3.
When’s the last time Rose was No. 3 on the concern list for the opposition?
“Yeah, that’s what I am surprised about, but I’m not the coach,’’ Rose said, when asked if he was shocked that Bucks coach Jason Kidd hasn’t been double-teaming him. “I’m just happy that they’re not, and finding ways to get better.’’
And as far as Rose being in anyway concerned that Butler was taking shots away from him? Not even a thought.
“Got [that other elite scorer] now, so I’m going to keep feeding him, he’s gotta keep taking the shots, and we’re just going to boost his confidence,’’ Rose said.