Rose overcomes pain, leads Bulls to victory


Rose overcomes pain, leads Bulls to victory

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."

Spooner, coming to life with Bruins, feels Julien 'just didn't really trust me'

Spooner, coming to life with Bruins, feels Julien 'just didn't really trust me'

BRIGHTON -- The Bruins' third line has been reborn under interim coach Bruce Cassidy, and the players are now openly admitting they desperately needed a change.

Claude Julien never trusted Frank Vatrano, Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes enough defensively to play them together, but this line has blossomed under Cassidy: Six goals, 15 points and a plus-11 in seven games. They’ve survived in the defensive zone by rarely playing there. Instead, they push the pace, make plays to keep the puck out of the D-zone and, most importantly, keep producing the secondary offense that wasn’t there in the first 55 games of the season. 

No one has been freed from the shackles more than Spooner, who is back playing his natural center position after being forced to play left wing under Julien. The 25-year-old said Tuesday that getting a clean slate with a new coach has been extremely beneficial to him, and that perhaps he didn't always love playing for the guy now minding the bench in Montreal. 

“I felt like the last coach ... he just didn’t really trust me,” said Spooner, who has two goals and six points along with a plus-1 rating in seven games post-Julien. “It might've been kind of on me not really playing to the potential that I have, but at the same time . . . I just don’t think that he really liked me as a player. It’s kind of in the past now. It’s just a part of the game. It’s up to me to just go out there and just play, and not have that stuff in the back of my mind. 

“I just kind of have to go out there and believe in myself and I think at times I wasn’t really going out there and doing that. Maybe that’s something to learn. This sport has ups and downs, and I’ve had my downs. You learn that you can just sort of push through it. If you do that then things can be good.”

Spooner has 10 goals and 33 points along with a minus-3 this season, and could potentially surpass last year's numbers (13-36-49) in his second full season. 

Most felt that the speedy, skilled Spooner would be one of the big beneficiaries of the move from Julien to Cassidy, and now he’s showing that with a new lease on life in Boston. 

Tuesday, Feb. 28: Nothing coming easy for Habs

Tuesday, Feb. 28: Nothing coming easy for Habs

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while it’s all happening around the NHL world ahead of tomorrow’s NHL trade deadline.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Eric Engels says that a torturous February shows that nothing will come easy for the Montreal Canadiens.

*Some raw locker room video from the Florida Panthers with local D-man Keith Yandle holding court with reporters.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has some early thoughts, and some praise, for the Washington Capitals landing puck-moving D-man and big ticket rental player Kevin Shattenkirk.

*The Toronto Maple Leafs up their playoff cred by landing gritty, big third-line center Brian Boyle ahead of the trade deadline.

*Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are the city of Chicago’s longest-tenured teammates having spent the last 12 years together with the Blackhawks.

*Patrice Bergeron and Toucher and Rich are getting together for their 10th annual Cuts for a Cause, which will be on March 27.

*For something completely different: Jimmy Kimmel gives his perspective of the debacle that went down at the end of the Academy Awards on Sunday night.