Derrick Rose: Forget the Rest, Bulls Leader Is the Best

Darrell HorwitzSenior Writer IIMarch 19, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 11: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls shoots a free-throw against the Atlanta Hawks at the United Center on March 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Hawks 94-76. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

If there was any question who the league MVP is, there isn't anymore.

Just slip in the tape of Derrick Rose doing his best Michael Jordan imitation, taking on the Indiana Pacers one on five in the fourth quarter Friday night and getting the game to overtime.

He scored 19 of the Bulls last 20 points in regulation, bringing them back from a 16-point deficit starting the quarter.

I haven't seen anyone take over a game like that since Michael Jordan in his 63-point playoff game against the Boston Celtics in 1986.

The Bulls lost that game, too, but the best player in the game, (yes, I said it) got fouled by Darren Collison with 1.2 clicks left on the clock on a three-point attempt with the Bulls trailing by three.

He calmly sank all three free throws to tie the game and then blocked Danny Granger's last-second shot to force overtime.

In a similar situation in December against the L.A. Clippers, Rose was fouled with no time left and the Bulls down by two, and he clanked the second shot that would have tied it. After the game, he vowed that would never happen again.

Since that time, he's made 278 of 314 attempts for an 88.5 percent clip.

The one criticism of his game was that he didn't get to the line often enough. How does 18-for-21 sound for all of those doubters and critics out there, and I'm talking to you, John Hollinger?

While his teammates passed up shots or just stood around and watched, Rose took it upon himself to rally the team, constantly driving through and around several Pacers and drawing contact.

He scored 19 points in the last 7:00 minutes of the 4th quarter, and he would have had more if the refs didn't swallow the whistle on a few plays.

He also continued his quest to have Dominique Wilkins' nickname, the "Human Highlight Film," transferred to him.

Anyone who saw the play in the third quarter at the 8:42 mark where he briefly lost the ball, jetted forward to retrieve it, did a 360 and an up-and-over reverse layup knows what I'm talking about.

ESPN's SportsCenter could have dedicated its Top 10 plays of the day to him. And if you watch him on a regular basis, you know this isn't a one-time thing.

The MVP award stands for most valuable player, not best player.

It doesn't matter. He is the most valuable, and the best player—period.

Kobe Bryant is still great, but he's getting up there in years. He's not as good as he used to be.

Kevin Durant is terrific, but he can't do the things that Derrick Rose can do with a basketball.

Dwyane Wade is no longer the closer in Miami, and he's also nearing the down-side of his career.

And LeBron...

LeBron has shown all season that he's not a closer, and the teams' record in close games proves that. If you can't close out games, you can't be the best, no matter how many points you score in a blowout like he did Friday night against the Atlanta Hawks.

He topped Rose by one, 43 to 42, but it's not how much you score, but rather how and when you score that matters.

Rose scores when it counts.

He does whatever is necessary to help the Bulls win, and if that means scoring almost every point, he can do it.

A true MVP also hates to lose.

Despite his brilliant performance, Rose wasn't placated. He blamed himself for the loss.

When discussing the overtime period, he said, "That's the time when I'm supposed to take over, and I didn't show up."

Compare that to what LeBron James said after the Heat's loss to the Thunder the other day.

"Tonight is not one of those games where you feel awful when you lose," he said. "We can be satisfied with this loss because we played hard. It is nothing to hold our heads (down) about."

Can you imagine those words coming out of Derrick Rose's mouth?

He mouthed similar sentiments recently when the Heat lost to the Bulls.

Which player would you rather have playing for your team?

I know what I think.

Tell me who's better.


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