MINNEAPOLIS – Derrick Rose received a nice ovation from many in the crowd of 18,978 on Sunday afternoon at Target Center when he made his Timberwolves’ debut with 2 minutes, 42 seconds left in the first quarter.
“It’s all love, it’s all love. I appreciate it,” Rose said of the cheers. “I love all the support. Just great fans here and I appreciate all of them.”
As far as memorable moments for the veteran point guard, at least positive ones, the ovation was about it in the Wolves’ 109-103 victory over Golden State. In fact, many who applauded Rose’s entry were equally as happy to see him depart.
Rose, who signed with the Wolves for the remainder of the season last Thursday, grabbed the rebound of Gorgui Dieng’s missed layup shortly after checking in and scored on the put back. On the Wolves’ next possession, Rose’s floating shot missed.
Rose played into the second quarter and finished 1-of-5 from the field with one rebound, two assists, two turnovers and two points. His plus-minus rating was a minus-17.
The Wolves led Golden State by 11 points when Rose checked in and were down by six when he departed with 8:06 left in the second quarter. Rose did not get back into the game, finishing with 6 minutes, 36 seconds of playing time.
“It felt good besides all the damn turnovers,” Rose said. “But (I was) jittery, anxious, as you could see. Some plays I could have slowed down and just figured things out. But I’m excited to actually be out there playing. It’s been a while since I’ve (seen) action. Right now, I’m just trying to get the feel and just cheer on my teammates if I’m not in the game.”
Rose, 29, had not played in a game since he was in for seven minutes and scored three points for Cleveland in a Feb. 7 game against the Timberwolves. He was traded to Utah days after that game and soon thereafter was released by the Jazz.
That enabled Tom Thibodeau, the Wolves president of basketball operations and coach, to reunite with Rose, who won an MVP award playing for Thibodeau with the Chicago Bulls in 2010-11. Rose has been slowed by injuries numerous times in his career but remains optimistic things will be different in Minnesota. He also is confident he can find a rhythm once he gets consistent practice and playing time.
“You’re talking to a guy that had numerous injuries,” Rose said. “I tore my ACL and missed a whole year, and I was still able to come back and find my rhythm. So basketball is all about rhythm. I just have to continue with my routine every day and I know it will come the more I play.”
Thibodeau had Rose on the floor with point guard Tyus Jones and another guard in Jamal Crawford. Thibodeau said he expected Rose would be rusty, adding, “That group (of guards), I’ve got to give them a better plan. It was the first time we had the three guards out there together. I think it can pose problems but we need to work on it a little bit more.”
There are many who think Rose will never come close to finding the form that made him a star with the Bulls. What Rose and Thibodeau called rust on Sunday, many feel is the reality of who Rose has become. In an interview with ESPN.com this weekend, Rose talked about his critics.
“This is how I feel about it, the whole perspective on it,” he said. “You could have your perspective on me, as far as I’m a bum, I can’t play, I can’t shoot, this and that, all right, cool, I have no hard feelings with that. I’m cool with that. [If] that’s how you feel, that’s how you feel, but at the same time, I don’t need your (expletive) validation. I know who I am, I know what type of player I am. So you respect that and I respect that [point of view] and we should be good. That’s how I feel about it.”