Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook, in their highly-anticipated and long-awaited matchup Thursday night, put on a hell of a show.

Rose took over the game down the stretch—the former MVP scored eight straight points late in the fourth quarter, en route to 29 points, and helped the Chicago Bulls secure a 104-98 win against Westbrook’s visitng OKC Thunder.

Jimmy Butler said the victory was a crucial one for the Bulls.

Per the Chicago Tribune:

Derrick Rose overcame a poor shooting start to take over late, scoring eight straight of his season-high 29 points from the 3 minute, 35 second mark until 1:07 remained. Jimmy Butler added a season-high-tying 26 points to lead the Bulls to a 104-98 victory over the Thunder.

 

“This was big,” said Butler, who backed up his promise that the Bulls would play more inspired. “Derrick’s a helluva player. He carried us. That’s what leaders do. That’s what MVPs do.” […] Rose is four years and three knee surgeries removed from that. But playing with passion and pace after scoring in single digits in three straight games for the first time in his career, he overcame a 1-for-8 shooting start to finish 12-for-25 in a season-high 37:29 and reward Fred Hoiberg’s faith in him. The coach spent several minutes after the morning shootaround working with Rose on his jumper.

 

“I’m just getting reps up,” Rose said. “I had two weeks not to do anything after I got hit (in the face). It’s all about rhythm, getting my timing back. I know I dedicate my whole life to this sport. It’s going to pay off one day. I can’t get all high because of this game. I’m going to have more ups and downs, and I’ll find my way around them.”

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