Bulls, Rose beat 76ers 96-91
In yet another spectacular display, Derrick Rose proved why he is the NBA’s reigning MVP in the Chicago Bulls 96-91 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. When the going gets tough, Rose has proved time and time again this year that he can take control of games and single-handedly bring his team back from the brink. While the Bulls were never trailing by a huge deficit Sunday night, Rose was able to really pour it on midway through the third quarter, getting the Bulls ahead for the first time since the early second quarter. Watching him is just a pleasure - plain and simple. Driving past three defenders, stealing the ball and getting an assist on a break away, dropping a quick three in a defender's face… sometimes I feel like there isn’t anything he is not capable of when he touches the ball with his hands. The 76ers, of course, realized this and called on the double team in the fourth quarter. You have to hand it to Philly here, they came up with some good defensive stops and were able to make the Bulls force up some bad shots, leading to a 9-2 Philadelphia run. Now it would’ve been a lot nicer if this could’ve happened earlier in the game, but after the double team was put on Rose, the rest of the team was able to fill the void; especially C.J. Watson, who made a couple of clutch shots to get the Bulls’ lead back up. Watson had rolled his ankle earlier, and it was questionable whether or not he would return, but he certainly made a difference down the stretch. However, I can’t help but feel that if Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng had turned it on earlier, the fourth quarter wouldn’t have been as difficult. Rose had 35 points on the night, and Boozer was a very distant second with only 13. While the Bulls were able to get this victory, it doesn’t excuse the lack of help throughout the great majority of the game. We’re still waiting for Rip Hamilton to really turn it on. We’ve seen glimpses of it since his return, but this Bulls team desperately needs him to be consistent so as to lighten Rose’s load. Thankfully, D-Rose is up for just about any task, and I’m fairly confident everyone was staring wide-eyed at their TV with the move he made towards the end of the game, driving past three defenders as he was falling out of bounds, but still able to get a shot up and in, a dagger in the 76ers’ heart. The team really came together towards the end of that last quarter, but for sustained success in the playoffs, this needs to happen across the entirety of the game, not just for a few minutes. This is a guest post by Nick LaBanca from MidwayMadness.com. Midway Madness is a site dedicated to Chicago sports. It is written by Chicago sports fans, for Chicago sports fans. Nick LaBanca is a Columbia College graduate who grew up in Chicago and is an avid Chicago Bulls and White Sox fan. Wanna read more from Nick? Click here.
Photo Credit Jonathan Daniel [Getty Images]