Derrick Rose took over in the fourth quarter to seal the Chicago Bulls seventh consecutive preseason victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night. Rose scored 13 of his 26 points in the final stanza to give Chicago a 104-95 exhibition victory.
Rose has been playing exceptionally well in the preseason and seems to have not lost a step since taking a full year off to recover from the torn ACL he suffered last April. Although many questioned whether or not Rose would ever be the same again, one person did not: Kevin Durant.
The Thunder superstar spoke with reporters before Wednesday night’s game and said he isn’t surprised one bit at the way Rose has been performing in the preseason.
“Some players just have that ‘it,’ and he’s one of them,” said Durant of Rose. “He’s a guy that’s not going to be denied, no matter if it’s an injury, a bad game, whatever. He’s going to always bring it … I knew it would be like this.”
Rose and Durant worked out together over the summer in Los Angeles and the two have formed a relationship and friendship off the court that’s based in mutual respect for one another for the things each can do on the court. And Durant thinks that Rose might actually be better now than he was before the injury.
“You see it in the preseason. He hasn’t lost a step. Great players put in [work] overtime and I think that’s what he’s done this past year,” Durant said. “With him being hurt, he’s put in extra work. When I worked out with him this summer, he always strived for perfection. So, you’ve got to love a player like that.”
Thunder head coach Scott Brooks agreed with his superstars sentiment of D. Rose saying, "He’s been outstanding. He’s right there with the best players in the league. Obviously, he’s one of the hardest workers. He has the skill set and toughness. And what I see so far, he’s obviously an MVP candidate."