The MVP headlines and chants are getting a bit old, especially now that he’s actually won it. Watching Derrick Rose drop 44 on the Hawks in Atlanta en route to a 99-82 Chicago Bulls win in Game 3 to take a 2-1 lead isn’t.
So yeah, 44 points. Derrick Rose scored a career high, playoff or regular season game, on a night everything dropped for him right from the start. Hell, Larry Drew called a timeout after less than a minute after Rose slashed into the paint with ease right after the tip off. It was that kind of night for the Hawks, who got booed (specifically Josh Smith), reminding everyone of last season’s sweep against the Orlando Magic. It was one of those nights that the Hawks seemed to quit early and have nothing in their energy tank. Maybe they used it all up in the Magic series and in Game 1.
Back to Rose – He finally had an impressive shooting night, the only one from the Bulls starting lineup. When Rose scores 44, there’s no need for the rest to really raise their game offensively. Rose shot 16-27 from the field, including 4-7 from three. The rest of the Bulls? 21-52, just over 40%. And if Rose destroying Jeff Teague wasn’t enough…
The Bulls grabbed 18 offensive rebounds. Yeah, Carlos Boozer wasn’t very effective or involved, playing only 22 minutes, scoring 6 points and grabbing six rebounds. At least he didn’t get booed. And the Bulls didn’t need him that much. Noah finished with 15 rebounds and 5 blocks, including 8 offensive boards. The Hawks grabbed only 25 defensive boards and were outrebounded 47-34.
Unlike in Chicago, where the crowd was booing Carlos Boozer, in Atlanta it was the Hawks’ Power Forward who was getting to feel the wrath of home fans. Josh Smith finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds, team highs from the Hawks. The home fans didn’t like him settling for jumpers, especially late in the game, as it seemed Atlanta were accepting the fact this was a lost cause. With Rose playing like that and in general getting Beat Up as Larry Drew said, the Hawks didn’t have a chance.
A look ahead, with Rose seemingly injury free and hotter than the Sun right now bodes well for the Bulls. They played their best game of the playoffs so far. Their dominance on the boards and physical superiority throughout the game was too much for the Hawks. If they come out in this kind of mindset the rest of the series, it’s a done deal. Rose doesn’t even have to be this great.
We’ll leave you with words from Jeff Teague – He’s tough to cover anyway, but when his jumpshot is falling, he’s the MVP.