The Chicago Bulls gave up a 14-0 lead to start the game in their 83-80 loss to the Atlanta Hawks tonight in Atlanta. The Hawks were playing without Josh Smith, who was getting an MRI on his injured knee. Derrick Rose shot a woeful 5-21 from the field including going 0-6 from three. Rose’s poor shooting over the last five games should not be taken lightly. Over the last five contests, Rose is shooting 35% from the field and only 20% from the three point line.
Rose’s poor shooting just happened to coincide with Dwight Howard’s best five-game run of the season, opening the door in the NBA MVP race.
The Orlando Magic are riding a three game win streak since Dwight Howard’s mini-outburst that questioned his team’s heart. Howard himself has exploded, averaging 30 pts., 13.6 rbs., and 4 blks in those three games, while shooting 64% from the field. He has 11 straight games of 20 or more pts and 10 or more rebounds and 19 straight double doubles overall. Over the last five games, Howard has average 30.6 points and 13.6 boards, along with 3.6 blocks.
In the last game before the All-star break, Derrick Rose put his stamp on the MVP race with a monster performance against the league leading San Antonio Spurs, dropping a career high 42 points. Rose comes up big in big games and that is a sign of a true MVP. However, Dwight Howard’s performance in the latter month of February and beginning of March should not be ignored. Howard took over late in the game against the Knicks and has a chance to make the MVP race quite interesting if he can string together a few more 30 and 15 nights – especially against his next two opponents, who just happen to be LeBron James’ Miami Heat and Derrick Rose’s Chicago Bulls.
Looks like the MVP race just got interesting.