Derrick Rose continued his torrid scoring pace, finishing with 24 points help lead the Bulls to an easy 105-84 victory over the depleted Milwaukee Bucks to remain undefeated in preseason play at 6-0.
“The games only tell you where you are. They are like tests,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “You’re starting to get ready for the beginning of the season and you want to be a 48 minute team. Every preseason game tells you what you need to work on. I think it’s important to understand why you win or why you lose a preseason game and then you have to be ready to adjust quickly. Every team is different in the preseason. You have to be ready for everybody and every possibility.”
Rose went 10-for-11 from the free throw line and added four assists in just under 28 minutes of play as each Bulls starter finished in double digits in scoring. They outrebounded Milwaukee 52-31 and turned 21 of their turnovers into 28 points.
“I liked how we played in the first half,” Thibodeau said on his team’s 62-39 lead at intermission. “We got a little looser in the second half with the lead. That is something that we have to work on. I thought in the second half, we had to concentrate on our body position. When the game starts to get close, we cannot be fouling 90 feet away from the basket.
The Bulls never trailed and the game was essentially put out of reach when they jumped out to a 20-4 lead in the first quarter. The Bucks were without O.J. Mayo, Ersan Ilyasova and Carlos Delfino.
Rose continued with his aggressiveness on the offensive end and now has scored 78 points in his last 80 minutes and 50 seconds on the floor. He is 29-for-34 from the free throw line in that time. Even with him taking on the scoring burden this early, he wants more.
“For me, I think I’m not getting enough,” he said. “I wanted to go back into the game tonight, but Thibs didn’t call my name. I can’t get mad at it; they’ve been managing my minute’s great. So I can’t complain.
“I’m getting to the line more. I think I’m finding contact more, I’m getting comfortable with it. My previous years, I was shying away from it and now I think I’m used to getting hit.
“It feels good to be winning games,” he continued. “We’re just trying to build as a team and I think it’s coming along pretty good. The young players, they’re getting used to playing at an NBA pace. The old players, getting some wrinkles out and getting used to playing and our team chemistry is coming along pretty well.”
Of course, that chemistry is still a work in progress with Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler being on the sidelines.