Derrick Rose’s 44 points lead Bulls to 99-82 win

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (R) shoots over Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague in the first half of their Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball game in Atlanta, Georgia May 6, 2011. REUTERS/Tami Chappell (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

No other Chicago starter scored in double digits, but it doesn’t really matter when your point guard drops 44 points on 16-for-27 shooting like Derrick Rose did in Game 3. Joakim Noah had the Rodman-esque line of two points, 15 rebounds and five blocks, while Carlos Boozer and his turf toe scored six points (on 3-of-6 shooting) in just 22 minutes. Taj Gibson picked up Boozer’s slack, posting 13 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.

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Bulls bounce back, take Game 2

Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls shoots against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half of Game 2 of their NBA Eastern Conference second round playoff basketball game in Chicago, May 4, 2011. The Bulls won the game 86-73. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Derrick Rose accepted the MVP award in a pregame ceremony and played like a MVP to help the Bulls win Game 2. He didn’t play great, mind you — 25 points on 10-of-27 shooting, 10 assists, six rebounds and eight assists — but he played like the Bulls’ most valuable player. Chicago needs him to score, so he scores. Right now, the Bulls aren’t getting the kind of production they need from Carlos Boozer, who should be an 18/10-type of guy, but is shooting 40% from the field and averaging under 11 points per game in the playoffs.

Joakim Noah was outstanding (19 points, 14 rebounds and three steals), but the Bulls aren’t going to get that kind of scoring production out of him on a nightly basis. Luol Deng (14 points, 12 rebounds) was his steady self, but he’s not good enough offensively to be the Bulls #2 option on that end of the floor.

Based on what I’ve seen of the Bulls this postseason, I don’t see them getting by the Heat in a potential matchup next round. Without solid production from Boozer, they are too dependent on Rose to score and he can’t pour in 30 points every night.

What can you do when you’re down 28 points? Put LeBron and Wade on the Kiss Cam. [video]

Check out the scoreboard in the background as the Hawks broadcast comes back from commercial. The arena cameraman put LeBron and Dwyane Wade on the Kiss Cam.

Good to see they took it with a smirk.

Five trades that should happen (but won’t)

Phoenix Suns Steve Nash stands next to head coach Alvin Gentry in the second half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City on January 17, 2011. The Suns defeated the Knicks 129-121. UPI/John Angelillo

GMs around the league were worried that there wouldn’t be much action leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline, but once the Carmelo Anthony trade went down, there has been a flurry of activity highlighted by the Nets’ acquisition of Deron Williams.

Here are five more trades that should happen, but probably won’t. They generally include one older player on a bad team that isn’t going anywhere.

Click on each trade’s headline to see it in the ESPN Trade Machine.

1. Steve Nash to Atlanta for Jamal Crawford and two first round picks
Free Steve Nash! The Hawks aren’t the ideal destination for Nash, but the Hawks really need a floor leader and the team has the defensive frontcourt (Josh Smith, Al Horford) to make up for Nash’s weakness on that end of the court. Smith and Horford would work well in Nash’s patented screen-and-roll and he would take the pressure off of Joe Johnson to create as the shot clock is winding down. The Suns aren’t going to get much out of this deal other than cap relief (Crawford’s deal is expiring) and a couple of first round picks, but Nash is 37 years old and deserves to play in the postseason. The Suns aren’t going anywhere anyway.

2. Rip Hamilton to Chicago for Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer
Rip can still play. He’s averaging 13.3 points per game and his shooting 40%+ from 3PT even though his minutes are sporadic. He works hard on defense and has kept himself in great shape throughout his career, so he should be able to contribute for the remainder of his contract. His spot up jumper would be a nice fit alongside Derrick Rose in the Chicago backcourt. The Pistons would be rid of the headache of keeping Rip on the roster without playing him and would get a couple of youngish wings in Korver and Brewer that could actually contribute.

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Three sensible trade offers for Steve Nash

Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash drives down the court chased by New York Knicks center Amar’e Stoudemire (1) in the fourth quarter of their NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York January 17, 2011. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

ESPN’s Chad Ford lists the 10 impact players most likely to be moved before the Feb. 24 NBA trade deadline and believe it or not, #10 on his list is Steve Nash.

The Suns have said all along that Nash is still the core of the franchise, but at 22-24, the Suns are a long way from contending for a championship. Heck, they may not even make the playoffs this season. The soon-to-be 37-year-old is still playing at a high level, so he could help a team in need of a good point guard.

So here are a few reasonable offers that might get the Suns to bite.

1. Los Angeles Lakers
The chances that the Suns would trade Nash to the Lakers are pretty slim. No one in the West really wants to help Kobe try to three-peat, but the Lakers aren’t playing very well and they have a big piece that the Suns might be interested in.

There’s a saying — don’t trade big for small — but the Lakers aren’t getting great play out of their point guard position and Nash’s shooting would be a great fit next to Kobe in the Laker backcourt. However, Nash’s propensity to dribble around until he finds the open man would take the ball out of Kobe’s hands, and that may not go over very well (or fit within the Lakers’ triangle offense). The trade would leave the Lakers very thin on the front line, and with the way that the Celtics are playing, it’s doubtful that they’re going to want to part ways with Bynum. But they’re not playing very good baskeball right now and the roster could use a shakeup. Perhaps Robin Lopez could be included to maintain the Lakers’ frontcourt depth.

For the Suns, Bynum could be a franchise cornerstone if he can just stay healthy. I have my doubts about his knees, but if the Phoenix doctors take a look at him and think that the worst is behind him, he may be worth the risk.

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