Rookie Derrick Rose does one better than Michael Jordan

April 19th, 2009 - 1:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Los Angeles, April 19(DPA) In his playoff debut, Chicago Bulls rookie Derrick Rose did something Michael Jordan couldn’t — beat the Boston Celtics.
Rose was spectacular with 36 points and 11 assists Saturday as the visiting Bulls stunned the defending champion Celtics with a 105-103 overtime victory in the opener of their Eastern Conference first-round series.

The seventh-seeded Bulls set the tone for the day as road teams won three of four games Saturday. China’s Yao Ming and Houston powered past Portland 108-81 and Germany’s Dirk Nowitzki and Dallas upset San Antonio 105-97.

The Bulls were 0-10 all-time in the post-season against the Celtics, including a pair of three-game sweeps in the 1980s with Jordan, who went on to lead the franchise to six championships. Rose changed all that as he tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 39-year-old NBA record for points by a rookie in his playoff debut.

“I just wanted to come out aggressive,” said Rose, who made 12-of-19 shots and 12-of-12 free throws. “It’s hard playing in (Boston), especially with the fans, and I just played aggressive and the team followed me.”

“He’s one of the toughest point guards to stay in front of,” said Boston guard Rajon Rondo, who was matched up with Rose. “He’s definitely quick, and he also uses his strength to elevate.”

Rose scored 13 points in the first half as the Bulls opened a 53-44 lead. He had 12 more in the third quarter, but the second-seeded Celtics rallied behind Paul Pierce and Rondo to take a 72-71 lead.

After Rose’s layup gave Chicago a 95-94 lead with 31 seconds to play, Rondo — who had a playoff career-high 29 points, nine rebounds and seven assists — grabbed an offensive rebound and put in a floater nine seconds later. But Rondo fouled Rose at the other end, and the rookie calmly sank two free throws with 9.4 seconds left.

“(Rose is) poised beyond his years,” said Bulls guard Ben Gordon, who scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter. “He already carries himself like a veteran out there.”

Pierce had a chance to win it but missed the second of two foul shots with 2.6 seconds to go, forcing overtime.

“Sometimes you’ve got to get a break, and we got a break,” Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said.

In the extra session, Tyrus Thomas made three jumpers to give the Bulls a 105-103 lead with 50 seconds remaining. On Boston’s final possession, Pierce had a drive blocked out of bounds and Ray Allen missed a corner jumper, capping a 1-of-12 shooting performance.

Thomas scored 16 points and Joakim Noah added 11 and 17 rebounds for the Bulls, who held a 53-45 edge on the boards and can open a commanding 2-0 lead with a win in Game Two at Boston on Monday night.

Pierce scored 23 points and Glen Davis added 18 for the Celtics, who shot just 39 percent (39-of-99) and clearly missed injured superstar Kevin Garnett, who may be out for the entire post-season.

“We can’t show up and think because we’re the Boston Celtics that everything is going to be good,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.

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