Derrick Rose praises Heat's defense
MIAMI -- Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose believes the Miami Heat have the best defensive squad he has faced all season, and he knows a berth in the NBA Finals depends on the Bulls overcoming that challenge.
The Heat take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference finals into Game 4 on Tuesday, and Rose's goal is to become more active.
"I think I can be way more aggressive," Rose said before the Bulls' shootaround Tuesday morning.
Rose hasn't been able to penetrate the Heat's stifling defense in the last two games -- combining to go just 15-for-42 -- as easily as he did in Game 1. He said he has watched a lot of tape over the past 48 hours in order to try to figure out how to best break through Miami's traps.
"Quite a few [tapes]," Rose said. "Especially with [coach Tom Thibodeau], the way that he watches film. Just going over everything, pick and roll, isolation defense, all that. I think it's really helped me."
The Bulls will be looking to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season while giving Miami its first home loss of the playoffs. Rose knows that in order to do that his team must get back to what they've been doing all year. The Bulls were 3-0 against Miami during the regular season.
"The biggest thing is bring the intensity," he said. "And playing aggressive on both ends. We're a defensive team and we've got to go out there and show it."
Rose realizes it will be tough to find cracks in the Miami defense, but he is looking forward to the challenge.
"Just got to find a way," he said. "At first, [I was] passing the ball, just trying to get things done, playing with a slower pace. But now I just got to find a way to get myself going, by pushing the ball, trying to get fast break points, driving, shooting floaters, things like that."
Rose praised Miami's defense as the best he's faced all season.
"Right now, yes," Rose said. "I think that they're solid, very solid. All of them know their role, especially on the defensive end.
"They've got athletic guys where somebody's always contesting your shots, contesting the 3-point shooter's shots. They're playing very good defense right now."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.