Only two games last night as we enter the All-Star break. The Chicago Bulls beat the San Antonio Spurs in Chicago 109-99, improving to 38-16, 3rd best in the East and more proof that the Bulls are right up there with the Heat and Celtics in contention for the East’s top spot. In the west it was the Mavs, winning their 13th game this month, making it to 40-16, second best behind the Spurs.
Two men shone bright last evening – Derrick Rose and Dirk Nowitzki. Rose had what might have been the best night of his young career, scoring 42 points and joining Michael Jordan as the only Bulls player to go 40-5-8, on a day in which Michael Jordan celebrated his 48th birthday. We’re not saying Rose is MJ, but he is the most exciting thing the Bulls have had in a very very long time. MVP? I’m still with LeBron, but Rose is making a very strong case and if I’d have to pick one point guard to have as my starter from the amazing depth in the NBA, Rose would be the man.
And on to a man who already has an MVP and is making another effort at winning that title that’s been eluding the Mavericks for so long. They won’t make it again, probably.
Nowitzki won’t win the MVP, but there are those nights when he’s the most difficult players to guard in the league. It also helps when you’re playing the Suns and their ultra-soft defense. Nowitzki scored 35 points, his first 30+ in a month. He hasn’t been himself since the injury with his scoring average dropping to 22.7, his lowest since 2003-2004, but nights like these have their effect, and the Mavs seem to win all the time when he’s in the lineup.