Previous ArticlesChicago Dream Team ready for All-Star Sunday
Rose gets 11 as West beats East 148-143
by Sam Smith
Posted on Feb 21
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What would it have been like if LeBron James came to the Bulls last summer?
Let me say despite what you may have heard or believe, Derrick Rose did nothing to discourage James. But had he come to Chicago, Rose might have turned into a shooting guard.
Because for much of Sunday’s fairly mundane NBA All-Star game won by the Western Conference 148-143, James took the ball and attacked with Rose off to the side as a spectator.
Rose finished with 11 points and five assists in 30 minutes as a starter as James became the second All-Star after Michael Jordan to record a triple-double with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
Kobe Bryant won the MVP award, his record tying fourth in an All-Star game, with 37 points and 14 rebounds. It was something of a tradition back in the 80’s for the team to try to get the hometown player the MVP award as Michael Jordan got it in 1988 in Chicago, Tom Chambers got it when it was in Seattle and John Stockton and Karl Malone when it was in Salt Lake. But teammates usually planned that out. Kobe just went after it.
“You could tell he started out from the start he wanted to get the MVP,” said Stoudemire in a little dig at Bryant. “He was not passing the ball, at all. But that’s Kobe.”
Kevin Durant added 34 points while Amar’e Stoudemire tied James with 29 points for the East team.
“If anything you get rest,” Rose said with a laugh about being off the ball so much. “I see the rest you get when you don’t have the ball in your hand all the time. Thibs only has a couple of plays when the ball is not in my hand. I’ll have to tell him to put some in.”
I think James is a good teammate, and, after all, it was an All-Star game with Bryant starting off fast and even dunking on James. And James does get criticism sometimes for not being competitive enough, though he is a high level competitor. But he does like the ball in his hand a lot, and not to say the Bulls wouldn’t have been good with James and Rose. But it would be an adjustment and seemingly limit Rose considerably.
You could get a sense of that as Rose has admitted he’s not a particularly good All-Star game player.
Part of the issue is he can be too good a teammate. We see that with the Bulls at times as he’s prone to start games slowly, unlike the Spurs game before the All-Star break last week when Rose exploded into the game and scored his career high 42 points.
Rose mostly looks to get teammates going, play the traditional point guard role, and then the Bulls fall behind. So he pushes hard in the second half and the Bulls win.
It was different in that Spurs game, and Rose indicated that’s a mindset the Bulls need more of down the stretch.
“We’ve got to keep playing with an edge,” Rose said about jumping into the post All-Star part of the season. “It seems like when we play with an edge we have success. That’s what we’ll continue to do.”
It will be intriguing to see Thursday against the Heat in the United Center with Joakim Noah back and Rose going against James this time. Dwyane Wade left Sunday’s game with a twisted ankle in the third quarter after scoring 14 points.
Rose wasn’t the player we are accustomed to see playing with the USA team last summer, and he tended to defer considerably Sunday as well.
“These games are hard for me,” Rose conceded. “Where it’s just one game. I’m a point guard. Giving people the ball, trying to find people in the open court. That’s what point guards basically are used for.
“In these games it’s usually the small forward and shooting guard who really get off, and you see who got off,” said Rose. “I’m thinking, ‘Man, was I shooting too much? What will the guys think?’ Like that. It comes into play, especially with only one practice.”
Rose had just one shot in his first quarter stint, a missed layup he caught awkwardly on a full court pass from James as the West took a 37-27 first quarter lead and pretty much controlled the entire game.
Rose wore his yellow Adidas sneakers in the first half as a tribute to his Simeon High School and then changed into his new signature shoes he’ll wear for the rest of the season. He said he wanted to give a “shout out” to his high school after choosing to wear No. 1 as a pro instead of his high school No. 25.
Rose did hit Stoudemire with a long pass for a slam dunk midway through the first quarter as there was the typical booing from the celebrity home crowd after Carmelo Anthony passed on a dunk to lay the ball in and four Celtics entered the game together.
Boring. Four Celtics together. Get ready for half court All-Star basketball.
Though the score was high, there wasn’t the entertainment to match. This era of player has immense talent, but they seem to lack the showmanship of many of the All-Stars of the past.
There’s never been a talent like James, and players like Stoudemire, Durant and Blake Griffin are remarkable physical specimens. But they seem to prefer more just the power dunking than the creative choreography in these things that made them more entertaining in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
“It was definitely fun seeing how good people are,” said Rose. “Both teams were going at it. They got up by a large amount and we fought our way back. But it was too late.”
Rose actually was trying to play basketball at times as he set a solid screen to free Joe Johnson for a three in the second quarter. He, fortunately, wasn’t roundly condemned. Rose scored his first basket on a fast break drive with 6:58 left in the half. The West, though, took a 76-64 halftime lead behind Bryant’s 21.
But this thing is an exhibition and for Los Angeles a place to be seen.
Someone named Rihanna performed at halftime and entertainers like Beyonce, Sean Combs, Jack Nicholson, Stevie Wonder, John Legend and Justin Bieber got to wave to the crowd.
The players were introduced before the game one by one on stage with fireworks and some acted out with dance struts like James. Rose nodded shyly and then smiled at something someone said off stage. Play ball! Sort of.
Rose had six points in the third quarter, getting more aggressive with his drive and weaving through defenders—if that what you can call them in an All-Star game—and scoring three baskets in the third. But the West led 117-100 after three quarters with Bryant finishing a fast break dunk over James as James tried for the block. Bryant gave James a little pat on the rear as if to show who was in charge.
James almost took it back with 14 fourth quarter points as the East got within a basket a couple of times in the last three minutes but couldn’t tie or pull ahead.
”We fought our way back but we weren’t able to close the game,” said Rose. “Just being able to see the fans (was the best part). The fans here were great. They came out, supported us. I hope they had fun. Kobe was out there doing his thing. That’s what he normally does. That’s why he’s one of the best players in the NBA. It was fun. I had a lot of fans cheering me on. I won’t take it back for anything. It was exciting. This is for the fans.
“We don’t want to take any steps back,” said Rose of going back with the Bulls. “Joakim is coming back. He’s going to bring energy. He’s catching the ball well. His cast is off. He’s shooting the ball well. When he comes back he’s probably going to shoot jump shots he’s been working on it so much. We have a lot of confidence in him. Just got to keep ballin’.”