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Bulls Mon Feb 21 2011
Derrick Rose's all-star adventure in Los Angeles this weekend included his first all-star start; a quick exit from the skills challenge; and an MVP vote from Celtics coach Doc Rivers. But last night's main event was a reminder that as great as Rose has been this season, he's still a third-year player. He's still a little brother in the NBA pecking order.
Rose played nearly 30 minutes, second only to LeBron James and Kevin Durant, but he was a bystander for most of the time, robbed of his central offensive role by the presence of LeBron and Dwyane Wade. Final line: 11 points on 5-of-13 shooting with three rebounds, five assists and one steal -- and a C-minus from ESPN NBA writer Kevin Arnovitz, who graded all the all-stars:
Judging from Rose's comments this week, there was a sense he might defer to his more veteran teammates -- and that's precisely what happened early on. Rose became more assertive after intermission, but finished with only 11 points on 13 shots.
For all the scoring that gets done in an NBA All-Star Game -- the West won 148-143 this time -- the circumstances weren't especially conducive to Rose showcasing his talents.
He and LeBron and Wade are similar players offensively, built around a nearly unstoppable ability to blow by defenders off the dribble. But there's only one ball to go around, and Rose clearly took a back seat -- except for an intriguing few minutes in the fourth quarter when he played alongside the pass-first Rajon Rondo and looked more like the 24.9-ppg scorer Bulls fans are used to seeing.
Glass half-empty: Rose isn't ready yet to dethrone the league's reigning superstars. Glass half-full: Rose, one of the quietest stars in the league, had no real reason to challenge the power structure in an all-star exhibition.
Whatever the reason, our local MVP candidate seemed content to let his neon yellow shoes do the talking. Look for a different approach when the Bulls get back to work Wednesday at Toronto -- and especially when LeBron, Wade and the Heat visit the United Center on Thursday.
Note: General idiocy led us to initially refer to Rose as a "second-year" player. He is in his third season.