Rose Must Attack Rim in 4th Quarter

Rose Must Attack Rim in 4th Quarter

Derrick Rose is fine.

He's finer than a physics-defying South Beach knockout.

Finer than Joakim Noah, who will be writing a check to the NBA, thanks to one angry word.

Rose is finer than the few remaining hairs on coach Tom Thibodeau's head after two straight losses.

Rose is frustrated, sure. Who wouldn't be in his situation? But he's not going to admit to showing fatigue from a grueling season of carrying the Chicago Bulls, at times, on his well-tattooed shoulders.

He hasn't lost his fast-twitch explosiveness or his rock-solid confidence. Just ask him.

"I'm fine, man," he said Monday afternoon. "Trust me. No excuses."

Then he flashed a toothy grin that is familiar only to those who cover him on a regular basis.

"Even I was tired, you know I wouldn't tell you," he said, laughing.

In the few times things have gone badly for him this postseason, Rose has stuck to a "no excuses" mantra. But he also hasn't had a reason to make excuses very often, not this season, anyway.

A few missed shots here, a couple of turnovers there. He is the MVP, after all, and the golden child of Chicago, not to mention the NBA.

But Rose finds himself at a season crossroads after two woeful fourth quarters that led to consecutive losses in the Eastern Conference finals.

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