OAKLAND, Calif. – What does the MVP do for an encore? How about making the winning shot – and a beauty at that – against the Lakers on Christmas Day.
“It has been that way all last year and he picked up right where he left off,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said of Derrick Rose’s game-winner at the Staples Center. “It’s one big shot after the next that he has the courage to take. At the end, he showed great resolve. He led us. We found a way to win.”
Much was made of Rose encouraging his teammates down the stretch of Sunday’s season-opening win, but it wasn’t his vocal leadership that impressed Thibodeau.
“Sometimes that’s overstated,” Thibodeau said. “The way he leads us is by his actions. He comes in every day, he’s there early, he stays late, he studies, he practices hard, he gives you everything he has, he never quits on a play. To me, that’s better leadership. Sometimes guys say all the right things and never do any of them. Derrick does all the right things and isn’t afraid to speak up. It’s the way he carries himself, the way he’s always ready, always alert, always into it. When things were going against us he was pulling everybody together. That’s the leadership I’m looking for and that’s what he’s shown. That’s the best leadership you can have.”
Thibodeau said getting Rip Hamilton in a rhythm with the offense is essential even if early foul trouble prevented that from happening against the Lakers.
“He’s a primary option,” he said. “We have to get him some shots and get him into the flow of the game. He’s a guy who can score a lot of different ways. He’s very good in transition. You can put him in pick and rolls and of course catch-and-shoot. He’s a great cutter. When he post feeds, he knows how to create separations and find easy shots that way. That’ what we have to look to do.”
View from the bench
Mark Jackson left a successful career as a television analyst to coach the Warriors this season.
“It’s much easier critiquing coaches and strategies and how to defend these guys when you’re sitting over there in a suit and tie than having to make the adjustments,” he said. “But give them credit. Great players, you’re not going to stop them. You can come up with a scheme to try to contain them. The great ones figure it out.”