Derrick Rose faked like he was going to drive to the basket again, creating just enough of a cushion on defender Brandon Jennings. Then he slid to his left in a split second, drilling a winning shot at the buzzer.
The reigning league MVP sure knows how to thrill a stadium filled with Bulls fans – even when he isn’t playing at home.
Rose’s off-balance shot just inside the 3-point line capped a 30-point night that powered the Chicago Bulls to a 106-104 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.
”It was like a kid, all the things that you dream about,” Rose said. ”It felt good. You’re on the road, going against a team that’s giving you their all and you hit a nice shot like that.”
Rose was mobbed by his teammates near halfcourt as a predominantly pro-Bulls crowd roared in approval, bursting out in chants of ”M-V-P!”
Joakim Noah added 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who have won eight straight.
”It was like a movie,” Noah said. ”Hit the shot, no time left on the clock, you hear the horn, the ball goes through the net. It must be an unbelievable feeling to hit a shot like that.”
Jennings noted that Rose wasn’t having a particularly good night shooting from outside, so the Bucks were expecting him to drive.
”I tried to make him take as difficult a shot as he could,” Jennings said. ”I was playing him to go to the basket, of course. He hit a step-back jump shot with a hand in his face. Hey, man, you go ahead and take that one.”
Bucks coach Scott Skiles said Rose made an incredibly tough shot look easy.
”What a luxury to have, you don’t even need to run a play,” Skiles said. ”You can just bring it in, throw it to a guy and he can get whatever shot he wants.”
Ersan Ilyasova had a career-high 32 points and Drew Gooden added a season-high 27 for the Bucks, who were coming off a home win over Philadelphia on Monday.
The Bulls held Jennings to 11 points on 4 for 18 shooting. Jennings had scored 27-plus points in his previous three games coming into Wednesday.
With the Bulls often double-teaming Jennings on defense, especially early, Gooden was left open for several outside shots – and he cashed in, scoring 16 first-half points to keep the Bucks in the game.
”I mean, it was a little difficult,” Jennings said. ”But like I said, Drew was hitting shots, Ersan was playing big for us.”
Once again, the Bradley Center was taken over by Bulls fans – although Chicago’s home-away-from-home-court advantage wasn’t quite as pronounced as it was in the Bulls’ Feb. 4 victory at Milwaukee, a Saturday night game that drew a huge crowd comprised mostly of Bulls fans.
Still, the Bucks received a jarring greeting when they took the floor before Wednesday’s game – mostly boos – and the crowd was decidedly pro-Bulls most of the game. When Milwaukee’s Mike Dunleavy Jr. missed badly in the second quarter, he was subjected to ”Airball!” chants.
It left the Bucks in the odd position of having to talk about tuning out the crowd at home.
”It hurts a lot that we lost this one, just the fact that we played so hard for 48 minutes,” Jennings said. ”Guys were down there battling. We didn’t let the crowd get to us at all.”
The crowd apparently did get his attention before the game.
”I told the guys before the game, we’re just going to tune that out and play basketball,” Jennings said.
The Bulls have won all four meetings with the Bucks this season.
With the Bulls up by two, Rose lost the ball out of bounds and officials initially ruled it went off a Bucks player. After a replay review, the call was reversed and the ball went to the Bucks with 55.2 seconds left.
Milwaukee’s Beno Udrih then drove for a layup, tying the game with 42.9 seconds left.
Rose drove on Jennings, then tried to hit a turnaround jumper – and drew a foul on Jennings and hit both shots for a 104-102 lead with 32.5 left.
Ilyasova scored inside, tying the game again with 24 seconds left and setting the stage for Rose’s last-second shot.
”It was a great play by him,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. ”He took the clock down, he didn’t leave any time because it was one of those games where whoever had the ball, you thought they were going to score next.”
Notes: The Bulls were without guards Richard Hamilton and C.J. Watson because of injuries. Hamilton has a right shoulder injury, while Watson has a left ankle sprain. … The Bucks were without defensive ace Luc Richard Mbah a Moute because of a right knee injury, and Udrih played despite left knee soreness. Stephen Jackson continues to sit out with hamstring soreness, and no timeline has been established for his return.