Derrick Rose is scrutinized about everything from his health to his shot selection, something he realizes comes with the territory after missing nearly two full seasons due to injury.
That doesn’t mean he’s listening to any of it.
Rose looks to help the Chicago Bulls win for the ninth time in 10 tries as they host the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.
The 2010-11 NBA MVP might need to step up his game to make up for the absence of leading scorer Jimmy Butler, who isn’t with the team after being placed on berveament leave Saturday. Butler, averaging 21.9 points, is expected to return Monday against Houston.
Rose has missed 10 games for the Bulls (23-10) due to various ailments after sitting out 154 of 164 regular-season games and both of Chicago’s playoff appearances the previous two seasons.
Some have wondered if Rose is still trying to shake off some rust while shooting just 41.3 percent, which would be a career low for a full campaign. He shot 5 of 20 from the field in a win over Indiana on Monday before scoring four points on 2-of-15 shooting in a loss to Brooklyn the following night.
Rose went 2 for 14 through three quarters Thursday against Denver, but he made 5 of 11 shots and scored 13 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter of a 106-101 victory.
"I’m not going to let anyone dictate the way I play," Rose said. "I couldn’t care less what anyone says or talks about my game. "My mentality is not going to change. I’m going to shoot the ball. I’m a scoring guard."
Butler scored 26 points, but Chicago looked to Rose down the stretch and that’s not going to change as long as he’s in the lineup.
"Everybody (fans and media) questions everything here," Joakim Noah said. "We’ll never question him because I know what kind of competitor he is."
Pau Gasol, who added 17 points, nine rebounds and a career-high nine of the Bulls’ franchise-record 18 blocks, was impressed with how Rose responded in the final quarter.
”It was important that he kind of broke off that slump,” Gasol said. ”He was effective and got himself going and scored big in the fourth quarter, helped us win the game. I think it’s really important to have that kind of ending, carry that momentum into the next game.”
Rose sat out a 106-101 home loss to the Celtics on Nov. 8 before finishing with 21 points in a 109-102 victory at Boston on Nov. 28.
The Celtics (11-19) ended a four-game losing streak with a 106-84 win over Sacramento on Wednesday, but they fell 119-101 to Dallas on Friday in Rajon Rondo’s return to Boston after he was traded Dec. 18.
The Mavericks’ point total is the second-most the Celtics have allowed in regulation this season, as Rondo scored a season-high 29.
Avery Bradley went 9 of 20 from the field and finished with a team-high 22 points, while Tyler Zeller added 17 and 10 rebounds.
"I thought we played in practice well this week," coach Brad Stevens said. "We did not do that (Friday). We got in a hole…and we let it snowball on us."
Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich returned Thursday after missing five games with a strained left hamstring, but Mike Dunleavy Jr. hurt his ankle in the third quarter and didn’t return. He won’t be available for this game.
Noah has a double-double in eight of his last nine against Boston – including one triple-double – and is averaging 14.3 points,15.3 rebounds and 6.4 assists in that stretch.