Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau offered a very matter of fact answer when asked if he had seen anything different out of point guard Derrick Rose in Saturday's 121-105 victory over the Rockets.
"Nope," Thibodeau said.
Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni also didn't feel much like elaborating on Rose's turn-back-the-clock performance of 17 points on 16 shot attempts in 21 minutes in Game 3.
"He's got his juice back," D'Antoni said.
One thing is for sure about Rose's Wolves tenure: He's always going to see if the juice is there each night.
Rose leads the Wolves in this series in one advanced statistic — usage rate. Usage rate measures what percentage of a team's possessions end with that player taking a shot, committing a turnover or shooting free throws. Rose's usage rate of 31 percent is 10th among all players in the playoffs averaging over 15 minutes per game, according to NBA.com. The next closest Wolves player to Rose in this series is Andrew Wiggins at 23.2 percent.
What exactly does this mean? If the Wolves have any hope of winning this series, they need Rose to play like he did Saturday.
In Game 3, Rose looked formidable. He shot 8-for-16 from the floor, including 1-for-2 from three-point range. What might pop out at you was that Rose's 16 shots were second on the team behind Jimmy Butler's 19.
For the series, Rose has taken the second-most shots on the Wolves at 13 per game (and making 6.3), trailing only Wiggins (13.3) — even though Rose has played 11.8 fewer minutes per game than Wiggins. He's averaging more shots per game than Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns, who both are playing more than 34 minutes.
Rose's insertion into the Wolves rotation has meant Tyus Jones is almost a nonfactor when it comes to shooting. Jones is averaging just two shot attempts in this series.
For Saturday, Rose's decision to keep chucking paid off. The Wolves were plus-13 when he was on the floor.
"We need every point," Jamal Crawford said. "He's the youngest MVP ever. People forget that. I don't know why. His peers know how good he is. It's a blessing for him to be on this team. … We see it all the time in practice. So when he's rolling and doing his thing, it's not a surprise to us. It's just good everybody else gets a chance to see it."