Derrick Rose was very quiet (for him) in his first All-Star start: 11 points, 5-for-13 from the field, 1-for-2 from the line, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, a steal and a turnover in 29 minutes and 56 seconds.
If you’re a Bulls fan, this wasn’t the Rose you know and love. At times, he looked like he simply wanted to defer to his teammates, let them do the heavy lifting, while he stood back and enjoyed the show. Other times, he looked overly cautious on offense and simply lost on defense.
He became a little more intense in the second half. But the Derrick we saw against San Antonio last Thursday apparently got left behind in Chicago. I’m fine with it. That’s where he belongs.
Hey, fans love it when their favorite player dominates the All-Star Game. I’m sure Lakers fans are feeling pretty good today, what with Kobe going crazy (37 points and 14 rebounds) and winning the MVP award. And Heat fans probably feel almost the same, what with LeBron racking up the second triple-double (29 points, 12 boards, 10 assists) in ASG history, although they might feel a little queasy over D-Wade’s ankle tweak.
But we all know the All-Star Game is a glorified exhibition where the only things on the line are bragging rights and reputation. But Rose cares not for these things. He wants to win. And the Bulls are his top priority.
So if he seemed to be going at half-speed during the Skills Competition, or if he was mostly a highly skilled spectator during much of his 30 minutes of action last night, I’m willing to forgive him.
Save it for the second half of the season, Derrick.
We all know what kind of season Rose is having. And check out what Celtics coach Doc River had to say about Rose and the Bulls: “If I had to vote, [Rose is] the MVP of the league. And when you have one on your team, especially with all the other guys, they’re right in there. They can beat us; we can beat them. It’s going to be tough.”
Of course, Rivers doesn’t have a vote, and, as of right now, history seems to be firmly against the Rose-as-MVP talk. But, again, I’m fine with that. All-Star Games and MVP awards are nice. Championships are nicer.
Which do you think is most important to Rose?
As for those, uhm, interesting yellow shoes Derrick wore during the game? According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the shoes, along with his blue uniform, were a tribute to his alma mater, the Simeon Wolverines.
Said Rose: “That was a shout-out to them.”
And, apparently, Rose got needled about them by his All-Star teammates “the whole game. ‘Why’d adidas put you in those shoes?’ Stuff like that. It was all fun and games. I love the shoes. They’re my shoes. I’d wear them all the time if I could, but they have to be your team colors.”
Speaking of team colors, the Bulls return to action on Wednesday in Toronto. The next night, they have a homecourt showdown with the Heat before another five-game road trip that ends in Miami. Life won’t get any easier any time soon…even with Joakim Noah returning from thumb surgery.