D-Rose's Biggest Scoring Night on the Biggest Stage of Game 3 (Video)

D-Rose's Biggest Scoring Night on the Biggest Stage of Game 3 (Video)

Derrick Rose went off for a career-best 44 points in the Bulls’ 99-82 win in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead over the Hawks in Atlanta. It’s the most points scored like a Bull in the playoffs since Michael Jordan hit the championship-clincher in the 1998 Finals. Fitting.

Derrick Rose just came out to kick the Hawks in the nuts and spit on them while they cowered on the dirty ground in pain, I wrote in my recap at “Blog-a-Bull”:

Rose came out on his still-sprained ankle and exploded in his forward motion, continued to shoot when the Atlanta D sagged off, and moved the ball well without passing to the wrong team. All in all, his career-high 44 points (regular season and playoffs) came in bunched that screamed, “UNSTOPPABLE!” with 17 in the first quarter on 7-for-10, 13 in the third on 4-for-9 with a trey and 4-for-5 at the line, and ten in the fourth to put the start shoveling dirt on Atlanta. Overall, he shot 16-for-27 on the game, 4-for-7 from 3-point range, and finally got to the line to go 8-for-9 to go with seven assists and five rebounds. His dominance of the ball (50.5% usage) was most valuable in that it allowed his teammates to rest on offense, so maximum energy was available to continue pounding the Hawks on the defensive end. He only turned the ball over twice for a microscopic 6.1% turnover rate.

“I’m just pushing it,” Brenda Rose’s pride and joy said after the game. “Trying to go for a faster pace…. We just made sure our turnovers were low and we played team basketball.”

He added that his confidence was raised by being more aggressive, getting to the line, and countering the Hawks’ D by seeing his shots fall. “They were going under [the screens], leaving me wide open on the jumpshot, so why not take it?” he said.
Rose defined “unstoppable” on Friday night, Matt Moore accentuated (Eye on Basketball):
It takes a lot to be unstoppable in the NBA. Players can show and recover as far out as halfcourt. Doubles are constant, welcomed, and efficient when executed correctly. And you’re talking about players, often with up to ten inches of height advantage and even more length contesting at the rim (though Rose is certainly taller than many guards).  There a way to stop 99% of all NBA players, even the elite ones.
What are you going to do if Rose is hitting 10-18 on jumpers? You can’t close on him, he gets to the rim faster than your rotation, and can explode to get airborne from nearly the elbow.  You have to hope he misses. Instead, Rose buried the Hawks with more range shots than layups.  The Hawks clearly weren’t expecting it and, with his quick release, there wasn’t any way for them to close. Rose’s jumper isn’t always going to be there. But it’s going to be there on nights like Game 3, and when it is, the Bulls, for all their offensive weaknesses (which are numerous), are a juggernaut.  
The Hawks could have played better on offense, with better passing, less dribbling, the same things we always say about them. They could have hit the glass harder, gotten better bench production, got out in transition more. And it probably wouldn’t have changed the final result, only the margin of victory.  
Tom Thibodeau said after the game: “To set the tone, I think we needed him to attack. And again, when he’s not dancing with the ball and he’s attacking, he’s impossible to stop. I thought he caught it on the run, he kept going and going, attacking the basket, wasn’t playing around with it, didn’t allow them to catch up, kept a lot of pressure on them.”
I’ll re-word Thibs’ point: Rose can kill who ever he wants and time not killing is a waste of fresh blood in the game of buckets.
On his ankle, I added:
Rose doesn’t want to talk about his ankle anymore, says it’s fine, but there’s still a little lacking. He’s strong and fast and came out with an explosion, but his lateral movements to change directions is still limited. Teague exploited this pretty well on offense, but the Hawks never used traps to cut off angles to exploit this and Rose exploited their risk-aversive defense. So, the ankle is fine, but the team still has the task of moving more off the ball and helping more aggressively than would be normally needed.
Another big takeaway was that Rose relieved pressure from Luol Deng in this game. Deng has reformed into a man of the basketball axiom, ‘hustle on defense, conserve on offense.’ Deng had more chances in this game than any other in the series — if not the playoffs — to rest in the corner on offense and hustle back shut down Joe Johnson. Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson‘s combined 15 offensive rebounds played a huge role in this as well, elongating those offensive possessions.
Deng’s played 3,552 minutes in 90 games of the 2010-11 regular season and playoffs. That’s more than anyone in the NBA’s endured since the season opener. I’ve said that Deng will be needed as that second guy who gets to the line and is available for spot shooting when Rose drives, but games like Game 3 where he doesn’t have to pound the ball inside or use a ton of screens is highly valuable against Johnson. It’ll be even more valuable when LeBron James comes to town in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Rose can transcend unstoppable some nights when the physical talents are combined with that look of hedonistic bloodlust we saw on every finish at the rim. The look is nothing more than a facial expression, but it’s just rare enough that when you’re reminded of the ferocity necessary for this 6-foot-3 point guard to produce as he does at his best.
That look is there and Rose has a large appetite for more blood.

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