The Los Angeles Clippers, if anyone had any doubt, won’t become NBA champions overnight. Derrick Rose, if anyone had any doubt, is the 2011 NBA MVP, and the best point guard in the NBA. His performance against Chris Paul, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 114-101 win in LA, was one of his finest.
The Bulls looked worried after their opening day struggles – a hard earned win over the Lakers and a surprising loss against the Golden State Warriors. The rest of their Western crusade has been more successful with a win over the Sacramento Kings and now over the team hoping to be the next best thing, the Los Angeles Clippers.
Rose looked extremely pleased with the fact that everyone had their outside stroke going on – It makes me feel good knowing that I have shooters. Everybody was hitting the shots they were supposed to hit. That is the difference this year. We’re way better offensively.
Rose finished with 29 points and 16 assists, both season highs. One of those games in which everything went well, despite putting in quite a defensive effort in trying to slow down Chris Paul, who finished with 15 points and 14 assists. The problem with guarding Rose is when he starts making the outside shots, which opens up everything for himself and everyone around him.
Vinny Del Negro, who coached Rose for two seasons, wasn’t surprised – Derrick is just a handful and we all know that. I didn’t think we ganged up on him enough. He got too many free throws, but he also hit some tough shots in the fourth quarter, stepping behind the line and hitting some 3s. And when he does that, it puts a lot more pressure on you.
The Clippers did get 34 points from Blake Griffin and they shot pretty well, over 51% from the field, but their defense has to improve. Griffin, despite his 34-13 performance, wasn’t very pleased – We’ve got 63 more, so we’ll be all right. We’re going to win games, but we’ve got to get better defensively. I’ve got to do a better job with my shot selection and knock down those jumpers.
As for the Paul – Rose rivalry? Chris Paul may be a better passer, or “pure” point guard than Rose. He’s probably a better defender than the MVP as well. Doesn’t matter. Rose just brings more to the table, and I don’t see anyone having Rose trading him for Paul. He’s better offensively by enough to give him the edge, and he’s probably a much better passer and play-maker than people give him credit for.
Paul has faced Derrick Rose five times in his career so far, never winning once. I know it’s a team game, but Rose has got the edge with stats and the W’s. He’s simply the better player, who’ll go deeper in the playoffs than any other contender for best PG in the league.