By Sam Zuba-
(CBS) Few aspects of Derrick Rose’s game can reasonably be questioned.
His toughness? Certainly not. You’d be hard-pressed to find a player in the NBA who takes more of a beating than Derrick Rose. Coming into the 2012 season, he had missed just six games in his first three seasons.
His ability? No chance. Unlike many top draft picks who bust in the NBA, Rose became the league’s MVP in his third season.
His decision-making in key situations? On Wednesday night, the answer to that question was yes.
With the Bulls trailing the Pacers 92-90 with 23 seconds to go, the MVP of the league had the ball in his hands and a chance to tie the game.
After all, who else would you want taking the final shot other than Derrick Rose? No one. But that’s not quite how things played out.
With time running out, Rose dribbled to the corner before attacking the basket. As he went in for the contested layup, the Pacers defense collapsed, leaving Brian Scalabrine wide open just beyond the 3-point arch.
Yes, that Brian Scalabrine.
Rose kicked it out to the open Scalabrine, who missed a wide open 3-pointer, sealing the Bulls’ fate and their first home loss of the season.
“I was trusting my teammate,” Rose said. “I thought it was a good shot. At the time, I thought I didn’t have a shot. I think I made the right play. If anything, I’m going to learn from it.
“I thought I did what I had to do. I thought I had the lane, but then somebody stepped over. There are so many ways I could’ve played it out. I could’ve held it for another shot, but I saw that they weren’t ready to defend (Scalabrine). I just took off and tried to get the easy basket.”
This game was one of the Bulls’ first real tests of the season. Coming into Wednesday night’s game, they had the second highest scoring margin in the NBA, but that was all put to test against the Pacers.
I have no problem with Rose finding the open man on most plays, but when the game is on the line, I want the ball in his hands.
He’s the MVP for a reason. He’s one of the best players in the league — it’s his shot.
As I watched the game unfold, I couldn’t help but think what other MVPs would have done.
Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant? Wouldn’t have even thought of kicking it out. Great players put the team on their backs when the game is on the line. It’s that killer instinct that people often associate with Jordan and Bryant — the ability to put the game away. On Wednesday night, Rose didn’t do that.
He dished it out.
After the game, Rose was noticeably upset, as he should have been — upset with his team, with their overall performance, but more importantly and more deservedly, himself.
He’s the MVP of the league, but he still has some learning to do.
“Don’t get ourselves in this position again,” Rose said. “When we’re up by 10 at the half, we just gotta learn to put teams away. That’s something we gotta learn quickly.”
Sam is the Sports Content Producer for CBSChicago.com. Before earning a degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, he spent two summers cover the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago Cubs for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SamZuba and read more of his columns here.