Another year, another subscription to NBA League Pass. I usually lose focus and interest relatively early in the season, content to just follow box scores and the NBA's gamecast.
That probably will not happen this season.
Arriving home for the start of the third quarter, I, like all other Bulls fans watching, was treated to an absolutely jaw-dropping performance by Derrick Rose as the Bulls turned a 12-point halftime deficit against Greg Monroe and the Detroit Pistons into a convincing 13-point win.
For any Bulls fan outside of Chicago that is thinking about getting League Pass: you should. I tune into Bulls games now not overly concerned about the final result. Instead, I watch knowing two things: (1) this year's team does not cheat its fans on effort; and (2) Derrick Rose will do something that will lead me to call someone and tell them to put the game on.
Jeff Joniak's "Devin Hester, you are RIDICULOUS!" is one of my favorite radio call descriptions of a transcendent individual performance; Joniak's call runs through my head repeatedly while watching Rose play.
Tonight, I thought that Rose's best moment of the second half had occurred when he beat Rodney Stuckey off the dribble, split two collapsing defenders (former Terp Chris Wilcox and, I think, Tracy McGrady), was fouled hard by Ben Gordon going to the rim, still made the shot, and converted the free throw.
The breakaway feed to Ronnie Brewer, with Brewer returning the ball on a lob, and Rose slamming it one-handed through the basket with the top of his head nearly at rim-level ... well, that was magnificent ... that was breathtaking.
Because of Rose, Bulls games have become appointments for me.
You can get some sense of how good Rose is by catching highlights, but seeing Rose's play in the context of the game, seeing the impact he has on his teammates, and seeing how the game ebbs and flows under his influence is almost as important as his amazing physical feats.
The crowd at the United Center started chanting "M-V-P" in the third quarter. At least one television viewer in suburban Maryland joined the exhortation.