Wednesday night, the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Utah Jazz 128-125. But that wasn’t the story. The story, as it turns out, would be Derrick Rose. And this time for all the right reasons. Rose played 41 minutes Wednesday night, and by the end of the game had dropped 50 points on 19-of-31 shooting. He shot 4-of-7 from beyond the arc while adding four rebounds, six assists and two steals.
So what did it mean to him?
“Everything,” Rose told reporters following the game. “I worked my ass off. I did this for the franchise, the fans, the organization. … I’m doing everything just to win, and tonight was a hell of a night.”
Rose will never hit the peaks of 2009-2012, of course. Those days are long gone. Injuries have taken them from him, But in eight games this season — one start — he’s experiencing something of a resurgence. Before Wednesday night’s stellar performance, Rose was averaging 14.3 points, 4.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. After Wednesday night, he’s now averaging 18.8 points per game. Thanks to his 50-point performance, the Timberwolves improved to 4-4.
“He has courage, he has humility and he has character,” head coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters following the game. “He’s been through a lot of adversity. He’s maybe one of the most mentally tough people I’ve ever come across.”
Even LeBron James, after helping the Lakers to top Dallas, weighed in with his own thoughts.
“To have the battles and battles with his injuries, to be able to come back … for him to set a career high tonight in a win in Minnesota, I think that’s unbelievable,” James said. “…any kid that’s going through anything in life about adversity and triumph and trying to just get over the hump, you can look at that performance by Derrick Rose tonight.”
Talk about high praise.
Up next, the Timberwolves take on the Golden State Warriors away from home. Will we see a vintage D-Rose performance? We assume not. Though, we’ll always have Wednesday night. And it was indeed pretty special.