Of all the exhibitions of excellence opposing players have treated the Ford Center faithful to throughout this inaugural Thunder season, Wednesday night’s will go down as one of the most remarkable.
What was even more impressive was that it was turned in by a 20-year-old rookie in Chicago’s Derrick Rose, the Bulls’ No. 1 overall pick.
Rose scored 20 of his team-high 25 points in the second half, making all 10 of his field-goal attempts over the final 24 minutes to lead the Bulls to a 103-96 win over the Thunder.
"That’s what great players do,” said Kevin Durant, who scored a game-high 28 points but was only 1-for-9 in the second half. "He’s a phenomenal talent. He’s having a great year. He won the game for them.”
With the Thunder ahead 56-51 at halftime, Rose sat on five points on 2-for-4 shooting with five turnovers. The performance he strung together from there was nothing short of incredible.
Rose scored 10 of Chicago’s first 12 points in the third quarter, deflating the Thunder more and more as each shot swished through the net. He hit fadeaways and contested jump shots, nailed runners and layups. His 20-footer with 7:36 left in the period gave the Bulls a 63-62 lead and sparked a 21-10 run that Chicago used to eventually take a five-point lead into the fourth quarter.
The Bulls never trailed again.
"I was just feeling it tonight,” Rose said. "I didn’t want to lose, so I was just shooting the ball.