Ultimately, this shot is all that matters at the end of this game.
The Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks mucked up an NBA game for 47+ minutes tonight before we got to see Derrick Rose knock down a floater from the baseline over two defenders to give his team the win. It capped off a game in which the two teams combined to shoot 38.2 percent from the field and turned the ball over 34 times in a 92-possession game. You can call it a defensive battle but it was more like an offensive struggle.
The floater by Rose to win the game was great and it will be remembered far more than his 7-of-23 shooting effort that was accompanied by four turnovers. Rose started off the game ugly with 2-of-11 shooting from the field and just couldn't find a rhythm with his shot. He attacked the basket. He pulled up from 3-point range. And he found the outside of the rim almost every time. The Knicks defense swarmed him and we saw a lot of the same problems in Thursday's game as we saw in the game against the Miami Heat.
Rose was putting his head down, dribbling into the defense, and not having the room to pull off what he needed to do. It resulted in a lot of forced shots that the defense was prepared to defend. That's been the biggest difference with Rose in his first two games back since the knee injury; everything he's doing, the defense seems prepared for. This is mostly because his decision-making has been so poor.
To open the second half, the Bulls found a way to get him two consecutive open 3-point looks at the top of the key. He knocked them both down quite smoothly because it was a rare shot that he took in rhythm. Outside of that, we saw him struggle for a second straight game with finding a good shot.
The funny thing about hitting game-winners though is nobody will remember how much he struggled. The shiny object of the floater from the baseline will be the lasting memory because he stepped up when his team needed a bucket. And most importantly, it was one of the few times he drove against the Knicks defense and found the proper space to get the shot off. It was like watching a glimpse of the Rose we remember and not the Rose we've been watching through the first two games.
Finding that space to utilize his incredible scoring ability is what's been missing. It's not a huge deal that his spacial awareness has been so bad but it's not something he can get away with much longer if the Bulls are going to build toward being a title contender and challenging the Heat. The glimpses of Rose's good play need to become a steady stream before it can inundate the opposing defense.
Most of us assume he'll get there relatively soon, but until he does, these heroic moments will save how we remember his overall play.