CHICAGO -- No matter what Derrick Rose did on the floor, no matter how many commercials he made, no matter how hard he worked, or how hard he tried, he couldn't seem to earn the elusive signal that any NBA superstar will tell you is critical for success in the league.
No matter how many times Rose found himself sprawled out on the floor after a drive to the hoop, he could not get a whistle from the officials.
So he decided to do something about it. He didn't complain, as so many of his colleagues have been known to do over the years. (Although, he is starting to have more of a running dialogue with the men and women in stripes). He didn't exaggerate the contact, as so many others have also done, to sell his case.
Instead, Rose sat in front of a television and watched replays of himself. He watched and tried to find ways to improve his chances of finally getting consistent calls. Over the past few days, Rose sat in front of that screen and picked up something he had never realized before.
"I think I'm learning how to get fouled," Rose said after the Chicago Bulls’ 90-79 win over the Boston Celtics, in which he dropped 36 points. "Where instead of me taking off pretty far, I'm finding the extra dribble and going into their body."
Rose realized he’d been taking off too far from the rim and was still shying away from contact at times. After Saturday night's performance, in which he set career highs for made free throws (15) and attempts (19), it seems as if he's finally figured out what it takes to get on the officials' good side. He knows an ability to continuously get to the charity stripe is going to help himself and his team in the long run.
"That was the biggest thing," he said. "Where if they're making runs and you want to stop the game, you can easily go and try to get fouled so it can stop them. And you can really talk to your teammates and get everything going again."
After two lackadaisical performances this past week, Rose and his teammates definitely got things going against the Celtics. They played with the type of energy that Tom Thibodeau has been searching for.
"It is a good sign," Thibodeau said of Rose's night at the line. "I thought he was in attack mode tonight. I think when he drives it that hard he's going to get calls. He needs to continue to do that."
Rose's teammates knew it was just a matter of time before those calls started to come his way.
"He got the calls tonight," Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said. "He attacked. He took on the challenge of going against [Rajon] Rondo. He loves challenges like that. For us, it was great to watch. He was aggressive all night long, got to the line, and the refs were giving him the calls. He attacks like that every night. You see him every night just like I see him every night and we saw the same Derrick Rose. It's just tonight he got the calls and went to the free throw line."
Without question, Rose was the difference on Saturday night -- and everyone knew it.
"Rose dominated the game," Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said. "He controlled the whole pace, he controlled the whole game, but that's how they play."
When a reporter joked that people may feel that Rose will get too many calls now, Rose didn't laugh.
"I deserve it," the Bulls' star said. "[Shoot], I deserve it."