Derrick Rose is a superstar, the league's MVP and the biggest reason that the Bulls' offense was close to good enough to get them to the East finals, even if they're now down 3-1 to the Heat. Yet, despite his excellence, Rose is still young, just 22 years old and three seasons into what should be a long and successful career.
"He hasn't been able to get to the line like we thought he would," the Bulls coach said. "There's a lot of contact, and he hasn't gotten calls."
Someone should tell Thibs that this is just how Playoff Basketball rolls. Hard fouls are normal, flagrant fouls only get called when someone slaps another person in the face with a leather glove, and namby-pamby girly men need not apply. Someone needs to tell the Bulls to Man Up, amirite? (Note: This paragraph was brought to you by a beer commercial.)
As noted by Kurt Helin in the PBT link above, Rose has averaged 6.5 free throws per game in the playoffs compared to a whopping 6.9 free throws per game in the regular season. His problem hasn't really been not getting to the line -- it's been that he's exhausted in the fourth quarter and can't finish at the rim -- or even just get open shots -- with the same regularity he experienced earlier in the same. Part of that has to do with LeBron James' stellar late-game one-on-one defense, as well.
So blame the referees if you like, but know that they've been good enough, if not exactly perfect. If anything, Thibodeau is just trying to grease the referees for Game 5 and beyond. In the playoffs, never confuse mind games with unimpeachable arguments.
- Derrick Rose
- Tom Thibodeau