The Big question in Chicago was Does Rose still have it? Is their anything left in the tank?
The answer, a resounding Yes. Rose displayed some of the vintage Rose people saw 3 years ago, before all of the knee injuries turned this franchise upside down. Now, maybe, things might hit a semblance of normality. Well, at least for day.
Rose scored 23 points on 9 for 16 shooting and 3 long treys that ignited the United Center crowd. Milwaukee played hard, and made a threat in the third quarter to close within three points, but Chicago went on a 15-7 run to ice the game. The Bulls had a 16 point lead late in the 3rd quarter and was in control the rest of the game. Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the first round playoff series.
The Bulls earned the victory 103-91, despite making 19 turnovers which helped the Bucks hang around. A few less TO’s and it may have been a rout.
Jimmy Butler had his A game on, and scored a team high 25 points. He was active, shot with purpose, and moved the ball well on the court. Pau Gasol scored 10 points and had 13 rebounds. However, he was lax with the ball and made some ill-advised passes. His teammates were able to pick him up. Aaron Brooks had an nice game with 13 points.
The Bulls took a 60-51 half-time lead and managed to stay ahead of the Bucks for most of the game.
The Bucks were lead by guard Khris Middleton’s 18 points. Ersan Illyasova had 15 points. Last years Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams, who came over in a mid-season trade, scored 9 points in his first playoff game experience.
The Bucks are young and talented. They will not back down. The Bulls have to beat them and did so in game 1. Chicago hit 46% from the floor and shot 37.5 from three point land. Rose three trey’s were big shots.
Rose expressed relief and gratitude that he was able to play well and that his teammates were behind him, offering encouragement. They know when he plays well, they are a different animal. And, in the playoffs, time is short.