Following a tough loss to the Miami Heat to open the season, however, this team just wants to look past all the comeback chatter or any singular matchup. Rose and the Bulls would rather focus on the big picture -- one that includes the entire 82-game slate and a potential playoff run dethroning LeBron James and the two-time defending champs.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau admitted that Rose was a bit rusty and that he tried to do too much at times.
"I thought it was OK ... I liked his playmaking in the first quarter. I thought in order to try and get us going, we got in trouble. There's still going to be some rust. But he played hard, and I thought he had some good looks that normally he makes and I'm sure will fall for him."
Rose seemed to shake off the notion, but did confess that his game was not as crisp as it could have been.
"I don't think I forced anything ... I just couldn't knock down shots. … I don't think there was any rust. I've had worse shooting nights than this. If anything, I'll have amnesia about it and we play in two days."
Rose nailed it with the amnesia reference.
The quicker he and the rest of his teammates can move past the shine that accompanied opening night, the smoother the transition the Bulls will have in eventually becoming the Eastern Conference contender that everyone expects them to be.
Rose also had this to say after the game:
"We have a whole season to make a statement ... If it was just a one-game season, that's something we would be worried about. For us it's about building every game. We know that we have a special team. We know that we work hard. It's about us jelling and getting our chemistry.''
Most of the media and fans were focused on Rose's first meaningful game in 18 months, creating the image that the offseason buildup pointed to this one game as being the climax of the entire season. But this is just the beginning for this group, as Luol Deng noted:
"I'm very disappointed in how I played and how we played ... But I'm really proud of this team. Our goal is way bigger than one night. We're not going to drop our head. It's a long season."
What we saw out of the Bulls on Tuesday in terms of scheme and execution is what we will see all season long. The talent on this team cannot be questioned, it just might take a few games to pick up where things left off before Rose's injury.
Jeremy Sickel has successfully created and operated numerous websites. His work can be read on Yahoo and Bleacher Report, and he has also appeared on various podcasts and sports talk shows around the country. Interact with Jeremy on Twitter @JeremySickel.
- Sports & Recreation
- Derrick Rose
- Chicago Bulls
- Miami Heat