Stretching the Field: Rose gets message across

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( - There are several ways to motivate people.

Some are more egregious than others.

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose opted to call out his teammates in a postgame interview following Monday's loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"Everybody has to be on the same page. Until then, we're going to continue to get our (expletive) kicked," Rose said. "We're not communicating while we're on the floor to one another. Everybody is quiet. Trust plays a part, but communicating on defense in a team sport is huge.

"We've got to give a better effort. It seems like we're not even competing. It's (expletive) irritating."

The Bulls were handed their sixth loss in eight games by the Cavaliers and shot 37.5 percent from the field. They were out-rebounded by a 54-40 margin and Rose scored 18 points on 5-of-14 field-goal shooting.

Rose should be one of the last players to preach about having an edge and communicating when he's been heavily criticized for not playing through pain and sacrificing for his teammates. He has missed plenty of time with various injuries and probably would sit two or three games with a hangnail.

This is the same Rose who said he is worried about his future and doesn't want to go to meetings or his son's graduation "all sore." Suck it up, Derrick. Your concern about long term doesn't hold much weight, and now is when the Bulls need you the most.

Including the Cleveland game, Rose shot no better than 35 percent five times over a 12-game stretch. Everybody has a bad game here and there, but Rose is supposed to be the leader of the Bulls and one of the top guards in the league. By no means am I trying to question Rose's ability or imply he's soft because he is still a top scorer in the league and hasn't proven it on a consistent basis.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said his team isn't giving multiple efforts or concentrating on the floor. The Bulls aren't doing their jobs and that must change, according to the gritty and defensive-minded coach.

Forward Taj Gibson got some things off his chest, too.

"We have to practice harder," Gibson said. "We can't be taking days off. We have to play with some energy.

"We have the personnel. It comes from within. There's nothing more you can say. It's all about how much heart you have and how determined you're going to be."

All the talk must have resonated with the Bulls, who came out like wild banshees with Thursday's 104-81 beating of the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. Rose scored a game-high 22 points and the defensive effort was there, holding the Spurs below 100 points and 37 percent shooting.

San Antonio's big four of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard were all present and didn't produce much, leading coach Gregg Popovich to say his team's effort was "humiliating and embarrassing." It has to be an accomplished feeling to get under the skin of one of the top coaches the likes of which the NBA has never seen before.

"You go through ups and downs through the course of a season and it's how you navigate through those things," Thibodeau said. "The important thing is to be mentally tough through adversity and concentrate on what's important and that's trying to improve."

The Bulls will be tested through the course of the next eight games, with seven of those coming on the road, including Friday's Big D showdown with the Dallas Mavericks. Chicago is going through the gauntlet against Atlanta, Cleveland, San Antonio, Dallas, Miami, Golden State, Phoenix and Houston. Its mettle will be tested on all accounts.

Rose and the Bulls will make the playoffs this season and are currently the No. 4 seed in the East. Before that happens, there will probably be some soul searching once again, private meetings and inspirational words. The Bulls responded positively in their recent hiccup, so there's hope they can steer clear of any controversy moving forward.

Like Thibodeau said, there will be ups and downs, and it's all about handling adversity the right way. Responding to criticism and pulverizing the defending NBA champions is a good stepping-stone for Chicago on the path of success.