Updated: October 24, 2013 12:24AM
WICHITA, Kan. — Hours before the Bulls’ 104-95 victory, Thunder coach Scott Brooks called Derrick Rose “an obvious MVP candidate.’’
Rose only enhanced his candidacy Wednesday against Oklahoma City.
Scoring 13 points in the fourth quarter, Rose lifted the Bulls to a 7-0 record in the preseason. He had 26 points and six assists and made four three-pointers. Rose is averaging 21.7 points in six preseason games and is 12-for-23 (52 percent) from three-point range.
“There are just players that have that ‘it,’ ’’ Thunder forward Kevin Durant said. “He’s one of them. He’s never going to be denied by injury, bad game, whatever. He’s just going to bring it. He’s one of those guys. I knew he’d be back.’’
It was the second consecutive game in which coach Tom Thibodeau reinserted Rose in the fourth quarter and watched him finish off the opposing team.
“That’s what I love,’’ Rose said. “I think I’m one of those type of players that can close a game.’’
Durant was asked if he thought Rose was back to being the player he was before the knee injury, and he said, “It’s preseason, but he hasn’t lost a step, and great players, they put in overtime, and that’s what he’s done this past year.’’
Around the rim
Jimmy Butler returned to the starting lineup after missing the last three games with a bruised left knee.
† Tony Snell and Erik Murphy likely will start the season with little playing time, but Thibodeau said, “I like our rookies because they have the right attitude and approach. Now they still have a long way to go.’’