NBA Playoff Memes celebrate the five stories everyone is buzzing about after each day of the 2011 NBA Playoffs. In Thursday's No. 2, we discuss Derrick Rose's clutchness again, which made everyone forget just how horrendously he played.
The Derrick Rose Clutch Bot (TM) nearly malfunctioned last night, as the Pacers played the Chicago Bulls tough for a third straight game. Luckily for Chicago fans, it turned on at the very end, when Rose gave the Bulls the lead with one of his patented hard drives to the basket. The lefty layup was so Derrick Rose, in that the world continues to believe there is absolutely no human way of stopping him when the clock goes to two minutes or less. That's the narrative, and we must stick to it. Of course, this Rose drive was not like any of the others. We'll get to that in a second.
But first: this Rose game in general wasn't like anything we've seen. The Pacers finally figured out the secret formula to stopping him, dogging him with rookie Paul George, occasionally trapping him, but mostly laying way back as Rose slung missed jumper after missed jumper toward the rim. In fact, that layup was his only made field goal at the rim in the entire game. Rose scored 23 points mostly because the Pacers couldn't stop fouling him, but all in all, a 4-18 performance with five turnovers isn't MVP ... BUT HE'S CLUTCH SO IT DOESN'T MATTER. (Sorry, I think Tommy Lee Jones just zapped my memory).
Also, let's be honest: the Pacers could have stopped Rose's final drive with better defense. The great Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook covers this in depth here, so I'm piggybacking a bit, but it still needs to be said. For one thing, Frank Vogel switched Dahntay Jones on Rose for some reason instead of trusting George, who had defended Rose well in the fourth quarter. Jones naturally crept too close to Rose, allowing Rose to easily blow by him. Then, both players who should have cut off the lane -- George and Danny Granger -- swiped lazily at the ball instead of moving their feet. That can't happen against anyone, especially Derrick Rose.
Honestly, I wish both of those things happened. Instead, the Derrick Rose Clutch Bot meme rolls on.