Derrick Rose receives MVP, but playoffs still belong to veterans

Dirk?Nowitzki has found countless ways to score in the postseason.

The Chicago Bulls better enjoy this week’s hardware. There’s a good chance Tom Thibodeau’s Coach of the Year Award and Derrick Rose’s MVP will be the only trophies they polish this summer.

Derrick Rose, 22, became the NBA’s youngest MVP yesterday after averaging 25 points, 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds. Orlando’s Dwight Howard finished second in the voting, followed by Miami’s LeBron James and the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant.

The third-year pro led the Bulls to an Eastern Conference-best 62-20 record and has revitalized a franchise that sank below mediocrity after Michael Jordan’s dynasty in the ’90s.

“Back in training camp when I said I wanted to be MVP, I wasn’t trying to be cocky,” Rose said. “I just wanted to push myself.”

For all Rose’s regular season greatness, though, no one outside Chicago is fitting him for a crown just yet. The dynamic point guard has shot just 37.9 percent with a 1.83:1 assist-to-turnover ratio in the postseason. He shot 25 percent in Games 4 and 5 in the first round against Indiana and didn’t even get to the free-throw line in a 103-95 Game 1 loss to Atlanta in the semifinals.

“The postseason is a whole different beast,” said teammate Carlos Boozer. “No one is backing down from us.”

Not yet. Rose demands double-teams like recent MVPs Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki, but he has yet to consistently make teams pay for them. And until he does, there likely won’t be an NBA Finals MVP or appearance for Rose.

Best when it matters

We rank the best scorers left in the NBA playoffs:

1 Kobe Bryant (LAL)
Yes, he clanked a potential game-winner off the back iron in the Lakers’ Game 1 loss to the Mavs on Monday night. It’s not likely to happen again. Besides, his 15 points in the third quarter would have sealed that game had Pau Gasol not coughed it up down the stretch. Dallas used four guys to guard him but the Black Mamba drilled jumper after jumper right in their faces.

2 Dirk?Nowitzki (DAL)
There’s probably not a more underappreciated player in the league. There has never been a player like him. The 7-footer is unguardable from the elbow and will lead the Mavs to the Western Conference finals unless Lamar Odom matches Dirk’s offensive production on the other end.

3 Dwyane Wade
Forget about LeBron, Miami is D-Wade’s team. He takes more punishment than any player in the league and still asks for more. Wade scored 38 on 14-of-21 shooting in a Game 1 win over Boston on Sunday.

4 Paul Pierce (BOS)
Far from the prettiest game, but he’s the only man capable of putting the Celtics on his back.

5 Kevin Durant (OKC)
Needs more consistency and more fourth-quarter shots (a-hem, Russell Westbrook) to bolt up this list.


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