BOSTON -- Derrick Rose reached down to his left foot to secure the straps on his walking boot.
A walking boot for the player who sat out the previous game, scored 25 points, and led his team to fend off a comeback push by the Boston Celtics? Must be an MVP or something.
Rose missed Thursday's game against the Washington Wizards with a sprained left big toe. He said prior to Fridays game against the Celtics that he would fight through the pain, and he did.
Down by as many as 20 points in the game, the Celtics cut the Bulls lead to one, 67-66, with ten minutes to go. Then Rose took over. He scored seven points in less than two minutes -- a layup, followed by a pair of free throws, and a trey -- to halt the Celtics push.
After posting 13 points (5-15 FG) through the first three quarters, Rose scored 12 points in 11 minutes in the fourth. He shot 4-for-6, including 2-3 from three-point range, during that stretch.
I was missing shots before that, Rose said following the Bulls 88-79 win. I think shots that I usually hit, I was missing. A couple of wide open threes, layups I was missing. But I guess taking that day off, Ive just got to get my timing back and towards the end of the game they were just falling.
Rose credited his teammates for continuing to get him the ball. With the repetition came rhythm, and he settled into his shot.
All my shots were short and flat, he explained. The other ones that I shot towards the end, I made sure that I was getting a little bit of arc on them.
He later said, They were giving me the shot. I was probably out a little further than I usually am, but they didnt contest and I was just shooting.
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau has come to expect performances like this from his star point guard. During Roses fourth quarter push, Thibodeau noticed his experience showing on the court.
I think hes gotten really comfortable with all types of defenses now, Thibodeau said. He knows where the holes are. Hell wait and hell attack the seam. He gets an open shot or a good look or hell create an open look for one of his teammates, and I think that comes with experience. He studies hard, he prepares himself well, and I think thats where he gets his confidence from.
And along with confidence comes endurance. After playing more than 39 minutes, Rose said wearing the walking boot feels comfortable. If there was any discomfort during the game, he blocked it out.
It's probably because my adrenaline was going and I wanted to win, he said. So anything is necessary."