Bulls support Derrick Rose
DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose made just 8 of 27 shots and missed a shot at the end of regulation in Game 4 that would have evened their series against the Miami Heat, but his team hasn't lost faith in him.
After LeBron James was whistled for an offensive foul, the Bulls got the ball back with eight seconds left and tied 85-85. The ball went to Rose for a potential game-winner, but with James in his face, Rose shot an air ball sending the game to overtime.
Miami outscored the Bulls 16-8 in overtime for a 101-93 victory and a 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals. Game 5 is Thursday in Chicago.
"We wanted the last shot," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Thursday of the final possession in regulation. "That's his shot. If he sees an opening where he can drive, then we want him to drive. But if he wants the pull-up, he's made that shot all year for us. If it goes in, we're all praising him. If it doesn't go in, everyone wants to criticize him.
"One game he's shooting too much, the next game he's not shooting enough. But that goes with the territory. And the thing that I love about him is that he's got the courage to take. And he's got the ability to make. And so I trust him. And there's no one out there I'd rather have than him."
Forward Luol Deng said the ball will go to Rose again the next time they are in that position.
"Every time we're in that position we're going to give him the ball," Deng said. "He's done it all year for us. We win together, we lose together. No matter, if anyone had a good game and we lose, it really don't matter. It's all about winning right now."
Thibodeau believes the best chance for the Bulls to win is to put the ball in Rose's hands, despite the struggles he's had over the past three games.
Rose turned the ball over seven times on Tuesday night, and took responsibility for the loss in the postgame press conference.
"Some he's going to make; he's not going to make them all," Thibodeau said, "I just want him to have the courage to take and he does. He never hesitates. The next time [a big shot] comes around I'm confident he'll make it."
Rose has struggled to produce when James has switched over to guard him, but Deng believes Rose will break out of the James-induced funk.
"Derrick has seen a lot of different matchups," Deng said. "He's good enough to ... I don't believe anyone can guard Derrick one on one. LeBron has done a good job at times, but Derrick has seen a lot of different matchups."
Thibodeau credits James' defensive prowess, but is confident Rose will adjust.
"[James] is a great defensive player," Thibodeau said. "But it's not something [Rose] hasn't seen. Derrick will make the necessary adjustments, he'll be fine."
If the Bulls are to prolong the series and force Game 6 in Miami on Saturday, Thibodeau said they will have to get back to playing the way they did all season.
"Drive the ball," he said. "Make the right play. If they collapse, hit the open man. That's what we have to do. I don't want [Rose] to change the way he plays. I just think the more we can get out in the open floor and attack that way, the better.
"We had 26 fast break points, so that was a good number for us. We got to make shots. When you make perimeter shots ... we got to make shots to open up the paint, and if we don't then they're going to be in the paint."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.