In a very low scoring first half, the Bulls managed to stay within reach after being almost completely shut down by the Lakers’ defense in the first quarter. Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant provided all of the offense for the Lakers as nearly every Bulls’ position seemed to end with a steal, blocked shot attempt or missed lay-up.
However, the Bulls played great defense in the second quarter – outscoring the lackadaisical Lakers 24-10 in the period to come back and take the lead at halftime.
Derrick Rose once again came to play. The Bulls’ young point guard scored 29 points on 12-of-25 shooting. Rose also showed off his new-found three point stroke in this bout – hitting three out of his five long-range attempts.
Winner of the last two Finals’ MVP awards, Kobe Bryant, found himself bested by D-Rose in this contest.
When asked whether or not he was ready to pass the perverbal torch down to the 22-year-old, in an interview prior to the Bulls’ 88-84 victory on Friday night over the Lakers, Bryant responded, “I’m not passing shit.”
“He’s got to come take it?” a reporter suggested.
“He can certainly try,” Bryant replied.
Derrick Rose definitely did his part on Saturday to knock off the defending 2-time Champions, and was serenaded by “M-V-P” chants from the United Center crowd.
Before the game, Rose had very modest words regarding himself:
“I’m not a star. I just play in the NBA. I’m just trying to do anything to get my team the win, go out there and get wins. And that’s passing the ball or doing whatever. But you can see the difference between a star and a superstar, especially in this league where superstars like Kobe and all the other players, there’s only a [small] amount of them. Where they can take over games and do it on a consistent basis.”
Perhaps Derrick is starting to re-think his position.
If so, it would be hard to blame him.
Rose is averaging 25.2 points per outing and 8.2 assists per game through 20 games played this season – hitting on 14 of 28 three-point field goal attempts so far through the currently short month of December.