Saturday night was just another reminder of the player Derrick Rose can be when the circus isn’t going on around him.
No playing doctor and ruling himself out of games, no unfavorable comments about contracts and meetings. Just doing what’s been asked of him since last season.
Attack, attack, attack.
Thanks to a very efficient shooting night in which Rose went 10-for-15 from the field for 22 points, including 2-for-2 from the three-point line, Rose helped the Bulls stay tied with Detroit for that eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, beating the Jazz, 92-85, at the United Center.
Not that this hasn’t been a trend for Rose.
As coach Fred Hoiberg pointed out, Rose’s efficiency has been impressive since the start of January, but has really been on display in the month of March, as Rose was shooting 46 percent from the field, as well as 46 percent from the three-point line.
Not bad for a guy who often looked broken from the outside far too often the last few seasons.
“He’s been more in attack mode I think,’’ Hoiberg said of the turnaround. “He’s shot a much higher percentage. We’ve talked a lot about his shot selection as far as shooting them off the bounce or pausing and then going into his shot with that momentum.
“He’s shooting the ball at a very high percentage from behind the arc after the All-Star Break. A lot of that had to do with he’s taking the right shots. He’s stepping into a shot, getting momentum into it. Yeah, his percentage has gone up.’’
“I’ve said it’s a process,’’ Rose said. “There are still things I want to do and I’m going to keep moving in that direction.’’
The win was the second straight for the Bulls (35-33) in what was a key four-game home stretch against sub-.500 teams. Basically, four games they really need to win. Two down and two to go, with the Kings and the Knicks coming to town next.
There’s a good chance that they will be without both Pau Gasol (right knee) and E’Twaun Moore (hamstring) for both games, so it’s all hands on deck.
That’s why Nikola Mirotic’s 15 points off the bench were more than appreciated, while Taj Gibson also added 15 points.
Bigger than Gibson’s scoring, however, was the veteran getting on his team at halftime, according to Hoiberg. While it was one of the better defensive games of the season for the Bulls, Gibson wanted more.
“He jumped the locker room at halftime,’’ Hoiberg said. “He got on those guys. Someone missed a defensive assignment at the rim and it was great to hear him in there jumping on those guys. He was [ticked].’’
And it was appreciated.
“Especially from a guy like Taj,’’ Doug McDermott said. “He’s been here awhile, he knows what it takes. We all liked that. It was a good message there and helped us out in the second half.
“Taj is a guy that everyone once in a while he’ll snap on us. I think we need that from him. We need it more from him. It was mainly on the young guys that missed a couple defensive assignments, including myself. So that helped.’’
With just 14 regular-season games left, anything helps.
“You can’t let things slide off so easily,’’ Gibson said. “You have to embrace the bad sometimes and it makes you hungrier.’’