Monday, December 26, 2011

Rose's Winner Caps Comeback Vs. Lakers

"Another Derrick Rose game-winning shot. Suffocating defensive plays, mostly by Luol Deng, down the stretch. Another Tom Thibodeau fist pump for the ages at the buzzer.

Labor strife may have claimed five months during the NBA lockout, but the Bulls sure look like they plan to pick up where they left off last regular season. You know, with character, talent and the occasional heart-attack inducing moment for the diehards.

Rose's 9-foot floater with 4.8 seconds left, following Deng's steal against Kobe Bryant, capped an improbable comeback in Sunday's season opener at the Staples Center, giving the Bulls a dramatic 88-87 triumph over the new-look Lakers.

Deng, with great help defense from Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, added the exclamation point by blocking Bryant's hanging shot from behind as the final buzzer sounded.

"Everyone knows by now we play hard," Deng said. "We stick together whether we're down 30 or down two. We're always going to play to the end."

The Bulls trailed by 11 after Bryant's layup with 3 minutes, 44 seconds remaining. And they mostly had themselves to blame after ditching the impressive ball movement that defined the first half to showcase far too much dribbling and standing around.

The Bulls shot 12-for-48 in the second half, went more than six minutes without scoring and endured a stretch from the 11:08 mark of the second quarter to the 4:32 mark of the fourth without attempting a free throw. That's a sign of a team settling for jumpers, not attacking the basket.

"We kept fighting," Noah said. "Derrick said, 'We've been in these situations before. We've come back and won games.' You knew he was going to be aggressive.""

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