Derrick Rose will return to his hometown of Chicago for the second time this season when the Detroit Pistons visit the Bulls on Wednesday night.
The former Bulls point guard drew a standing ovation and multiple “M-V-P” chants in his first visit to Chicago on Nov. 1. The Bulls won the game 112-106 but much of the focus centered on Rose, who remains a fan favorite after an up-and-down tenure that included a Most Valuable Player award and multiple knee injuries.
“I grew up here,” Rose said to reporters. “I’m really from here. Everything I represent, I think about Chicago first. What would a Chicagoan think about doing in this situation? …
“It’s funny how when I got to Detroit, it’s kind of like here (in Chicago). It’s a hard-working town. Everybody appreciates the game. There’s a rich history of winning, and they’re used to a gritty way of playing, and I think I represent that.”
The 31-year-old Rose scored 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting in his first visit of the season to the United Center. He is averaging 18.4 points and 5.8 assists in eight games (one start).
Detroit is hoping for a boost from Rose — or anyone, for that matter — after losing four straight games to the Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets. The Pistons have won only one of seven games on the road this season.
Chicago is struggling, too, with three straight losses against the Milwaukee Bucks (twice) and Brooklyn Nets. The Bulls are 2-5 at home and have faced increasing criticism about the lack of rhythm in their offense.
One of several problems is the slow start for Lauri Markkanen, who is averaging a career-low 14.1 points in his third season. The 22-year-old is shooting 36.2 percent from the field and 26.8 percent from 3-point range.
“It’s frustrating,” Markkanen recently told reporters. “I’ve never had this kind of stretch of not (only) not hitting 3s but missing layups. It’s very frustrating, but I’ve got to keep my head up, knowing that I worked too hard for this not to turn around.”
Bulls coach Jim Boylen consistently has preached the importance of stingy defense and a relentless attitude. He is more understanding when it comes to missed shots because he says those issues can be corrected.
“The thing I look at is, does he continue to work and communicate and take ownership?” Boylen said of Markkanen. “I feel no delusional tendencies from him. He’s not making excuses, and as long as I see a guy working and caring, I believe he will play better and get back to who we think he can be. He has to play better, and we have to play better.”
The Pistons remain without veteran guard Reggie Jackson, who is recovering from a lower-back injury.
Meanwhile, the Bulls do not have forward Otto Porter Jr. (left foot sprain) or center Luke Kornet (sinus surgery).
This will be the Pistons’ last visit of the regular season to Chicago. The teams have two more games in Detroit, with the first Dec. 21 and the second Jan. 11.
–Field Level Media