Derrick Rose’s shooting foul in clutch as Heat prevails
BY NEIL HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org January 29, 2012 10:18PM
“Me missing those free throws. Both? Come on,” said Derrick Rose, who scored 34 points but missed a pair of foul shots that would have given the Bulls the lead with 22.7 seconds left. | Wilfredo Lee~AP
BULLS AT WIZARDS
The facts: 6 p.m., Ch. 26,
Updated: March 1, 2012 8:39AM
MIAMI — Derrick Rose made jump shots with Miami Heat players draped all over him. He made runners and scoop shots. He made shots right-handed and left-handed. He was double- and even triple-teamed, and he still was able to finish at the rim. He made all 12 of his free throws when he stepped to the line with a chance to give the Bulls their first lead with 22.7 seconds left.
He couldn’t forgive himself for missing both shots as the Heat handed the Bulls a deflating 97-93 defeat Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
“Me missing those free throws. Both? Come on,” he said in the locker room, still unable to fathom what had happened. “The only thing I can think of is God does things for a reason. He’s telling me to work on my free throws more. I can do that. I know it’s going to make me a stronger player.”
Chances are, Rose is in a gym right now shooting free throws, even if he was perfect in 29 fourth-quarter attempts entering Sunday. He was more than disappointed after scoring 34 points to help his team rally again and again, only to miss an opportunity to steal a win at the end.
As if missing the free throws wasn’t bad enough, he also left a potential game-tying, 14-foot runner short with 3.7 seconds left.
“Derrick has always been his biggest critic,” center Joakim Noah said. “He takes losses very hard. He wouldn’t be the competitor he is if he wasn’t like that. He knows we have his back. We love him. We wouldn’t be in the position we’re in today if not for a guy like that. He knows that. At the end of the day, we have each other’s back, but we all feel down right now. It’s not just him. We all could’ve done better.”
The first installment of what might be the NBA’s best rivalry came down to the frantic final seconds and two strange plays. There was an inadvertent whistle that led to the Heat regaining possession with a two-point lead and 16.8 seconds left. There was another scramble for a lose ball that Rose picked up before calling a timeout with 9.9 seconds left. After Rose missed two free throws, so did LeBron James, who led the Heat with 35 points.
“This is so unreal right now,” Rose said. “I had a chance to change the game, and this time it didn’t work out. I know my will to win is still very strong. I guarantee next time the shots are going down.”
Nobody besides Rose was able to score consistently. Noah and Richard Hamilton had 11 points each, and Carlos Boozer and Ronnie Brewer had 10 each. Noah also had 11 rebounds and Boozer nine.
“The great thing about him is he takes pride in every possession, he takes pride in every game,” Hamilton said of Rose. “He’s not the type of guy who at the end of the game loses and says so be it. You love that from a player, especially a young player. A lot of guys don’t have that. For him to have that is an exciting thing.”