The night Derrick Rose was back on top
“Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?" - Tupac Shakur
Before "MVP MVP MVP" chants were echoing around the Target Centre in celebration of Derrick Rose's 50-point performance, you need to how we got here.
It had been a very strange season for the Minnesota Timberwolves before the season could even start. The Timberwolves were in the news and not for a good reason. Star player Jimmy Butler wanted out and made his feeling's very clear. But three weeks after requesting a trade, Butler returned to practise and chaos ensued. He dominated games with the bench players, and let the Timberwolves GM have it. "You f---ing need me, Scott. You can't win without me."
A few weeks into the season Butler was traded to the 76'ers, and it was as if the Timberwolves were starting the season over. They could now fully commit to the future of the franchise in Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Lost in all of this chaos was Derrick Rose. Rose had been with the Cavaliers last season after being traded to the Jazz and eventually cut. He signed with Minnesota in what most people saw as a favour from his old coach Tom Thibodeau. This was Rose's coach during his MVP season in Chicago. Fans also blamed Thibs for keeping Rose in a game against the 76'ers when the result was already decided. He tore his ACL and was never the same.
"We wouldn't ask why a rose that grew from the concrete for having damaged petals, in turn, we would all celebrate its tenacity" - Tupac Shakur
Not much was expected from Derrick Rose this season, behind Jeff Teague in the depth chart and many thought he would be taking on more of a mentoring role for up and coming stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
But while Rose has provided this leadership, he has also shown that he was not done just yet and could provide something for a team that wanted to return to the playoffs after reaching the first round last year for the first time in 14 years.
From the first couple of games, Rose was not only putting up improved numbers but he was also putting up efficient numbers. Playing against the Dallas Mavericks in the third game of the season Rose had his coming out party as he put up 28 points and 5 assists. Even though the Timberwolves lost that game, it gave a glimpse into what to expect from him all season.
Then came Rose's 50-point game. A home game against the Utah Jazz, it didn't have the making of a special night and the first half seemed to confirm that. The Timberwolves were up 65-56 at the half and Rose had 16 points and was on pace for a decent game but nothing special. The second half was very special and started the idea of Rose being an early favourite for Sixth Man of the Year, Rose looked explosive and relentless while battling against whoever the Jazz tried to throw at him to slow him down.
It didn't work.
Rose had made a couple of jumpers early in the game and made the defence step up a little bit while defending the pick and roll. This made getting to the basket a bit easier and he's one of the all-time greats at finishing at the rim. This was needed as he was up against a former defensive player of the year in Rudy Gobert.
The Timberwolves needed every point that Rose got and looked to him in the final minutes of the game. Rose came off a double screen and attacked the basket with Gobert trailing behind Rose, who pump-faked and watched the defender fly by. Rose finished the layup and put the Timberwolves up 123-122.
It gave Rose 46 points for the night and electrified the crowd. The Jazz then made a free throw to tie the game. The Timberwolves called a time out and everyone in the building knew who was getting the ball. Towns set a screen at the top of the key and just like before, Rose attacked the basket.
He looked to pump fake his defender, but Dante Exum didn't bite and forced Rose into a tough fadeaway push shot with one hand. But just like Derrick Rose, the shot defied expectations and went in. Timberwolves were up 125-123.
A free throw from Towns and a dunk from Exum put the score at 126-125. The ball was inbounded to D-Rose and the Jazz sent him to the free-throw line. Time slowed down. MVP chants had started to echo around and people were starting to realise what they were watching.
Rose hit his first free throw and took a deep breath before he got into his routine. Swish. Rose got his 50 points, but more importantly, put the Timberwolves up by three. But his work wasn't done just yet. Utah took a time out and needed a 3-pointer to tie the game and send it to overtime.
With 13 seconds left, Utah miss there first attempt but grabs the rebound and Joe Ingles attempts a second shot, which misses as well. Once again Utah manages to grab the rebound once again. Players are scrambling and the ball ends up with Exum with five seconds left. But, the hero of the game, Rose charges to the corner and blocks the attempt to end the game.
Derrick Rose was emotional in the post-match interview and fighting through tears to answer questions. The crowd inside the Target Centre were on their feet, showing the love and appreciation that Rose deserved.
This wasn't a normal 50-point game, it wasn't just people feeling happy for Rose. It was proving everyone who said Rose didn't belong in the league wrong. It was proof that it takes hard work, dedication and a willingness to win in order to become great.
It was just one night and maybe in the grand scheme of things, this 50 points won't mean much. But for one magical night, it allowed everyone - even the players -to just sit back and enjoy basketball.
"We would all love its will to reach the sun, well, we are the roses, this is the concrete and these are my damaged petals" - Tupac Shakur
It wasn't just the fans and teammates who wanted to congratulate Derrick Rose. The entire NBA watched that night with Many current and past NBA players taking to Twitter to congratulate Rose on his career night. Future Hall of Famer and former teammate Dwayne Wade took to Twitter to congratulate D Rose and I believed he summed up the thoughts of many.
"Every Basketball fan in the world should feel good for DRose. Tonite was an example of never giving up on yourself and when others believe in you. Amazing things can happen. I’m smiling like I scored 50! Congratss to a good dude!"
The 31st of October was just another night in the NBA world, most people would have been more focused on Halloween and celebrating the night. Instead, Basketball showed us once again why we try to watch every night, check the box scores in the morning, argue over who deserves to be in the All-Star game and more than that Derrick Rose's 50 point performance reminded everyone why we love sports. Sports is real-life drama, passion and excitement, sports allows you to almost leave your reality and allow yourself to be emersed in whatever sport you're following.
Derrick Rose reminded everyone that at the core of we are still the same child when we fell in love Basketball and for one magical night Derrick Rose reminded everyone why he was the youngest ever MVP and gave us hope that the Windy City Assaian may strike again.
"Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared.” - Tupac Shakur