NEW ORLEANS — Just a few minutes after draining the winning jumper with 0.3 seconds left on Monday night, Derrick Rose took time to think for a second when asked on the Detroit Pistons’ television broadcast about having the ball in his hands for the last shot of the game.
After a short pause, he replied, “Excuse my English, but I’m born to do this s—.”
It was that type of confidence that led Rose to drain the bucket over New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday and lift Detroit to a 105-103 win, the team’s fourth in five games. It was also something that has been on the mind of Rose since a couple of missteps earlier this season.
On Nov. 15 against Charlotte with the game on the line, Rose drove to the basket and ultimately kicked it out to the perimeter to no one for a late turnover, allowing the Hornets’ Malik Monk to hit a winning shot on the other end.
In another contest against the Hornets on Nov. 27, Rose passed it a second too late to Luke Kennard, who couldn’t get a shot up in time for what turned out to be another Charlotte victory.
But this time, Rose came through.
“I’m just trying to learn from my last mistake in that Hornets game,” Rose said. “It’s on my mind every time I think about me being in a late-clock type of situation.”
Pistons forward Blake Griffin said the team still believes in Rose no matter what, and it showed against the Pelicans.
“I think it was after the Charlotte game, we didn’t execute down the stretch,” Griffin said. “I went to him and I said, ’10 times out of 10, I’m going to you in that situation.’ He delivered for us tonight. He’s delivered for us the last two games in these situations. We have all the faith in the world in him.”
Rose’s winner came about thanks to Griffin’s defense on Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram. With a chance to put New Orleans in the league, Griffin drew the assignment of guarding Ingram and forced Ingram into a tough shot. After corralling the rebound, Detroit called a timeout to set up Rose.
The Pelicans had Holiday, an All-NBA defender each of the last two seasons, guarding Rose. But once Detroit cleared the lane for Rose, he went to work. He hit a spin move to create space and drained the shot from just below the free throw line.
“Jrue is a great defender, and I just made the right move,” Rose said. “That’s all it was. When you going against somebody like that, your move has to be very precise. You have to get a lot of space when you’re dealing with a great defender like Jrue.”
Detroit coach Dwane Casey drew up the play specifically for Rose to get a clean look. Langston Galloway faked a screen to clear out space to let Rose get the look he wanted.
“He’s an MVP for a reason,” Casey said. “We’re not getting the young Derrick Rose, but the young man didn’t do almost anything all summer long. A little bit in training camp, a little bit in exhibition. He’s coming around. Again, he was an MVP, he’s still an MVP mentally for a reason.”
It was the fourth winning shot of Rose’s career in the final second. His most recent was with the Timberwolves against the Suns on Jan. 20 with 1.0 left. He had true buzzer-beaters with Chicago in the 2015 playoffs against the Cavaliers and on March 7, 2012 against the Bucks.
So, was Rose built for this … stuff?
“Hey, hey, I believe so,” Rose said with a laugh when asked about his comments postgame. “Like I said, I’m not a guy that has a pompous type of attitude, but sometimes, you got to.”