On Friday night, Derrick Rose submitted one of the best single-game performances of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, scoring 44 points despite several injuries to lead the Chicago Bulls to a blowout win over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 3 of their 2011 NBA Playoffs second-round series. On Sunday night, the Hawks responded with a great effort to win Game 4 and even the series back up. By no means did the Bulls or Rose lose the game; instead, Atlanta just played one of its best games of the year.
And yet, Rose is getting criticized because he took 32 shots. This touched off a huge Inside the NBA debate, where Chris Webber defended the MVP and Charles Barkley shouted him off because a point guard is never supposed to shoot 32 shots. It didn't take long for Chuck to forget that Rose scored 44 points on 27 shots one game earlier, did it?
A part of me is happy that Rose is finally being subjected to the game-to-game second-guessing he has somehow escaped all season. But this is still remarkably unfair. Anyone who watches Rose has to realize that he is always a threat to shoot 30+ times because his team needs him to do so and because it doesn't have any other legitimate shot creators. It's not like Rose was gunning terrible jump shots either. Take a look at his shot chart, via @BothTeamsPlayed.
Yup, of his 32 shots, only four were from outside the free-throw line extended. This is a far cry from the Rose that jacks too many threes.
The big story of Sunday's game isn't Rose, but rather, the way the Hawks' big men met him so well at the rim. Make no mistake about it, Rose wasn't making bad plays. The Hawks just made better plays for one night.