Bulls-Warriors Preview

Despite a disappointing playoff exit last spring, Derrick Rose’s

offseason was a lucrative one.

The Chicago Bulls star’s start to the 2011-12 campaign showed

exactly why.

The Bulls continue their season-opening road trip with some

momentum Monday night when they visit the Golden State

Warriors.

While he couldn’t get Chicago past Miami in the Eastern

Conference finals, Rose capped an otherwise spectacular season by

becoming the league’s youngest MVP after averaging 25.0 points, 7.7

assists and 4.1 rebounds.

The Bulls rewarded Rose with a five-year contract extension

worth approximately $94 million.

“He embodies all the characteristics that you look for,” coach

Tom Thibodeau said following Chicago’s announcement of the deal.

“It’s a lot more than the talent. The talent is the obvious part.

Then, when you look at his will to win, basketball IQ,

unselfishness, his humility – I think those are the things that you

can build a championship-caliber team around.”

That selflessness was on display after Chicago’s stirring 88-87

win over the Los Angeles Lakers to begin the season Sunday. Rose

hit the go-ahead shot with 4.8 seconds to play, capping a rally

from an 11-point deficit with 3:44 to go.

Even though he hit the eventual game-winner, Rose was quick to

credit Luol Deng, who stole Kobe Bryant’s pass with 16.9 seconds

left to set up Rose’s shot. Deng also blocked Bryant’s last-ditch

attempt right before the buzzer.

“If it weren’t for my teammates, making the steal and getting

the ball to me at the end, there’s no way I could have gotten that

shot off to help us win that game,” Rose said.

Rose finished with 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting and had five

assists, although he also committed five turnovers. Meanwhile, Deng

had 21 points, seven rebounds and four steals.

Despite the victory, the Bulls have plenty they’ll want to

improve as they continue their four-game West Coast trip. They shot

25.0 percent in the second half and were held to 12 points in the

third quarter. Joakim Noah had just six points on 3-of-12 shooting

to go with nine rebounds.

Richard Hamilton also had only six points in an underwhelming

Bulls debut.

The Warriors, however, have a lot more room for improvement

after a 105-86 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday

night.

Stephen Curry is hoping to take another step in his development,

but after averaging 18.6 points and 5.8 assists in his second NBA

season, he got off to a rough start Sunday. Curry, who had

offseason surgery on his right ankle, finished with more turnovers

(five) than points (four), shooting 2 of 12 from the field.

Backcourt mate Monta Ellis also struggled, with four turnovers

to go along with 15 points on 6-of-19 shooting after his

grandmother died earlier in the day.

It was also not the start Golden State was looking for

defensively under new coach Mark Jackson. The Warriors gave up

105.7 points per game last season – 27th in the NBA – but Jackson

was hired in part to improve that number.

After a promising first half in that area, the Clippers shot

59.0 percent and scored 64 points following the break.

“We are a team right now that plays in spurts. The great teams

don’t do that, it gets you in trouble,” Jackson said. “There are

times we look like we really understand what we’re trying to

accomplish and then there are times … we look like a lost

basketball team.”

Chicago and Golden State split their two meetings last season,

with each winning at home. Rose had 14 points and nine turnovers

while Ellis had 33 points in the Warriors’ 101-90 win in Oakland on

Feb. 5.