The Chicago Bulls beat the Oklahoma City Thunder handily on Wednesday night, 104-95. Bulls star Derrick Rose led all scorers with 26 points in 35 minutes. He filled up the rest of the stat sheet as well, with four treys, four boards, six assists and a steal. OKC's Kevin Durant isn't at all surprised by the fast start that Rose is off to in the preseason. He had this to say:
“There's just certain players that have that 'it',” Durant said before Wednesday night's preseason game against the Bulls. “And he's one of them. A guy like that is not going to be denied, no matter what injury, bad games, whatever. He's just going to always bring it. So, I knew [his comeback] would be like this.”
Chicago media outlets were all over the “it” proclamation:
Anyone who follows basketball knows the challenges faced by Derrick Rose. He was out of basketball action for 17 long months after tearing his left ACL in the first game of the Eastern Conference Playoffs in April 2012. Originally slated for an eight to twelve month recovery after surgery, the star was cleared to resume basketball activities in March 2013. Still, while able to scrimmage, he maintained that he wouldn't return to game action until he felt fully confident. Rose wanted to be able to dunk with confidence, to be able to plant and pivot without fear or pain.
Bulls teammates and management have maintained a united and supportive front throughout Rose's long road back. The former MVP continued his grueling rehab process throughout the summer. Never one for lengthy answers, Rose has nonetheless grown his off-court cache through some heavyweight endorsement deals. For a guy who's notoriously camera shy, his screen presence can be captivating.
Here's Rose's "Basketball is Everything" commercial:
In his first game back, the 2010-11 MVP displayed his signature speed, as well as a breakaway dunk in the third quarter. The team has been unbeaten in the lead-up to the regular season.
Even now, though, there can be the specter of the ACL tear. Rose didn't play in the team's preseason opener in Rio de Janeiro due to soreness in his left knee.
He's the only one that knows his body. There's no need to force anything. And attack every day of rehab like it's your last day. Get everything you [can] get out of it every day.
Credit Rose for knowing his body and sticking to the game plan. It has resulted in him coming back stronger and, perhaps, even faster. Coach Tom Thibodeau says his star's entire body is stronger now. Rose himself recently claimed to have added five inches to his vertical leap. Rose is back, and as his buddy Kevin Durant said, he's got that “it.”
Enjoy highlights from the Bulls vs. OKC game: