The front-runner for MVP stepped up big in Indiana.
It was a great performance all night long, from the strong first quarter with nine points, to sinking three clutch free throws in a row to force overtime. And how did he follow that up? Oh, just by blocking a long three by Danny Granger to ensure overtime.
Wait, Indiana? The Bulls honestly went to overtime with the Pacers? Well, without Carlos Boozer because of his ankle and Joakim Noah not effective because of his illness the Bulls were in trouble.
But how did they get to this point? With poor defense in the first half which allowed 62 points, coupled with terrible offense—the Bulls needed a solution. The answer was not Keith Bogans in case you were wondering, as he bricked several threes, had two turnovers and allowed a couple buckets in just a few minutes.
The answer was Derrick Rose.
With the Bulls nearly down twenty in the second half Derrick Rose single-handedly took over the game and eventually took the game to overtime.
Overtime started poorly to say the least. The Bulls were 0-7 from the field to start overtime and the game all but seemed over. But surprise, suprise, Derrick Rose stepped up again and made a clutch drive and bucket to score and bring the game to within three with twenty-four seconds left.
Did I mention he was doing all this with five fouls for most of the fourth quarter? His luck could not hold up though, as an arguable call with twenty-four seconds left sent Derrick to the bench, and the game was all but over.
Although the game ended in a loss, several things were apparent while watching this game. First off, the Keith Bogans experiment needs to end. He was downright terrible and worse than ineffective. He was detrimental to the team's ability to score and defend. At this point it doesn't matter if Ronnie Brewer or Kyle Korver takes over the starting role, all that matters is that Bogans needs to be on the bench the whole game during the playoffs.
And speaking of Kyle Korver, another observation was his hesitancy to take the three-pointer. In a night where he reached the 1000 three-pointers made milestone, Korver almost refused to take a shot in the fourth quarter and passed up several open looks. In fact, a play was obviously designed to have Korver shoot, but he instead turned down an open look and passed off to Derrick Rose who then missed the shot.
Something is going on with Korver.
And unfortunately, this game showed that the Bulls will not win the Championship this year. In a game where Boozer was out, Noah was ineffective and Deng was able to score 21 to help out, it wasn't enough despite Rose's 42 points.
So who will pick up the scoring load?
Derrick tried his hardest to will the team to a win. Sure, Deng chipped in, and Noah scored a little before becoming ineffective, but it didn't amount to a win.
The team is obviously still missing that shooting guard who is capable of scoring and defending, and won't be able to win a championship without one, no matter how big of a game Derrick has.