Rose rallies Bulls for 95-87 win over Bucks
The way Rose stole a game from the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday certainly made him seem worthy.
Rose orchestrated a stunning 12-0 run by Chicago in the final three minutes, rallying the Bulls for a 95-87 victory.
"The worst thing you can do is give me confidence no matter what I'm doing," Rose said. "If I get any type of confidence, it's going to be hard to stop me."
A large, loud contingent of traveling Bulls fans made Rose feel at home, chanting "M-V-P!" as the final seconds ran out — just as they did throughout the game.
Rose finished with 30 points and a career-high 17 assists. And while the way he took over the game at the end was jaw-dropping, his passing was just as impressive.
"It was an up-tempo-type game," Rose said. "I was trying to make the right pass, put a lot of pressure on them and it was rolling for us."
With Chicago trailing 87-83 after four straight free throws by Carlos Delfino, Rose hit a pair of free throws and then fed Joakim Noah for a fast-break dunk to tie it.
With the Bucks bobbling the ball on offense, Rose hit three straight shots in the final two minutes, then handed off to Ronnie Brewer for a game-clinching fast-break layup.
"He's done it all year and he's got to continue to do it," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "The thing I really respect about him is he's never satisfied. He'll keep driving. The important thing for him is to win. He's not concerned about what he's doing individually. It's how the team is doing."
It was a tough loss to take for the Bucks, a strong defensive team that is scrambling to make the playoffs.
"It's really tough," Jennings said. "Fading away, just fade-away jump shots, off balance. That's why he's one of the MVP candidates right now."
Bucks coach Scott Skiles was just as disappointed with his players' inability to score inside as he was with their defense at the end.
"We didn't get much done," Skiles said. "And then Rose just went off on us in the end."
Carlos Boozer had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Chicago, while Noah scored 12 with 11 rebounds.
John Salmons scored 25 for Milwaukee but shot 0 for 5 the fourth quarter. Delfino added 23 for the Bucks.
Jennings scored 13 points on 5-for-15 shooting for Milwaukee.
Michael Redd was back in uniform for the Bucks for the first time since sustaining a severe knee injury last January, but did not play.
It was a must-have home game for the Bucks — even if a heavily pro-Chicago crowd certainly didn't make it sound that way for much of the night.
With the Bulls vying for the No. 1 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference and tickets hard to come by at the United Center, a large horde of Bulls fans made the drive up I-94 to see their team play in Milwaukee.
The traveling fans made their presence felt early, booing any home fan shown in Green Bay Packers gear on the scoreboard video display before the game, then booing the Bucks during pregame introductions.
"It was kind of weird," Jennings said. "You didn't know whose house it really was."
More than anything, the visiting fans went wild for Rose; one woman held up a sign that read, "Future Mrs. D Rose."
A collective gasp filled the arena when Rose converted a pair of acrobatic layups in the first half, and fans continued to chant "M-V-P! M-V-P!" every time he made a big play.
And he made plenty of them, especially when Chicago need him the most.
"The challenge for us is to keep getting better," Thibodeau said. "There are a lot of things that we have to improve upon. We're still not where we need to be. We dodged a bullet. We trailed most of the game. It's two games in a row defensively we were poor in the first half. We have to change that."
Notes: Redd said before the game that he's willing to play whatever role Skiles sees fit; Skiles said Redd is in excellent condition, but his timing is a little off after being out so long. ... The Bulls won all four meetings with the Bucks this year. ... Bucks backup center Jon Brockman came down hard on his left shoulder midway through the second quarter but was able to return.