Derrick Rose Destroys the Celtics, Bulls Own the East

You know how when people are discussing NBA prospects like Jimemr Fredette and everyone – doesn’t matter if it’s an NBA TV talking head or your boy – always hits you with the “Who’s he gonna guard in the NBA?” question? The answer, invariably, is almost always, ” No one.” And that’s because good offensive NBA players cannot be stopped. By anyone. NBA players are the best athletes in the world – no one man can stop an offensively-skilled pro from putting the ball in the bucket. That fact was on full display for all to see last night in the Bulls/Celtics game as Derrick Rose squared off with Rajon Rondo. If you asked 10 NBA scouts to name the best defensive guard in the league, there’s a very good chance they would all go with Rondo, which means he’s arguably the best defensive guard in the world. And Rose lit him up, going for 30 points (on 9-16 shooting!) and eight assists in a 97-81 Bulls victory … During his in-game interview Doc Rivers said that their defensive game plan was to keep Rose out of the lane, but that didn’t even come close to happening. Rose lived in the lane all night, making Rondo look like a traffic cone and basically toying with the Celtics’ defense. One of the reasons Rose shot at such a high clip for the game was because the vast majority of his 16 shots were around the rim. It didn’t matter if Celtics bigs were waiting for him in the lane, he pretty much did whatever he wanted to do. He was incredible, hitting acrobatic layups, bank-shots high off glass, and floaters over Kevin Garnett. On one play at the end of the first quarter, Rose crossed up Rondo at the top of the key, drove the lane, took off, double-pumped in mid-air, went through two defenders and flipped in a spinning scoop shot. Later, on a fast break, Rose blew through a backpedaling defense and went right through a waiting KG for an easy layup like Garnett wasn’t even there … So what can we take from this Bulls’ manhandling of the Celtics? Well, for starters, Chicago looked younger, faster, stronger, hungrier. They dominated Boston in the paint, 44-22, and beat them on the boards 43-35. And above all, they out-defensed a team that is known for doing the same thing to their opponents on a regular basis … Chicago now has a four-game lead on the rest of the pack for the No. 1 seed in the East, all but wrapping it up as we head into the playoffs. Boston would have to win out and the Bulls would have to fall apart for the Celtics to steal the top spot. The Chicago win also mathematically eliminates the Miami Heat from landing that No. 1 seed … In the only other game of the night, the Portland Trail Blazers cruised past the Jazz, 98-87, in what was a pretty ho-hum run. Gerald Wallace was a beast, going for 29 and eight boards, hitting four of his six threes … In the third quarter, Wes Matthews knocked down a three from the top of the key and ran down the court giving Three Goggles. Reggie Miller called them “this ridiculous thing everyone does now after making a three.” Cool. Because Reggie never did anything stupid after knocking down shots when he played … We had an official Derrick Favors sighting in the first half. He found himself with the ball in the paint off a missed shot, turned and unleashed hell on the rim with a one-handed smash … Word came down last night that Quentin Richardson has been suspended for two games for his two-hand shove to Gerald Henderson‘s face on Wednesday night. We still find Q’s journey kind of funny – he started off as an athletic offensive weapon for the Clippers. Then he became a deadly spot-up shooter. Then he turned into a spotty spot-up shooter. And now he’s a defensive specialist for the Magic (See: Q’s work on Paul Pierce and LeBron James), and sometimes goon … That Bobcats game was expensive for the Magic. Aside from Q’s situation, Dwight Howard picked up his 18th technical of the season in the game and it was announced yesterday that NBA is going to uphold the call. That means he’s going to be suspended for Sunday’s National TV game against the Bulls. Nobody – the Magic, the NBA, ABC – is happy about no Dwight for the game … We’re out like Reggie criticizing basketball theatrics.