So much has been said about Most Valuable Player favorite Derrick Rose in how he has carried the Bulls to the best record in the NBA.
But looking at his statistics recently, Rose is actually putting up better numbers than many think.
As a season progresses, young players often feel the vigors of the 82-game schedule, on top of a tiring playoff schedule. Coaches tend to play their star players a little more, and their bench players a little less.
Defenses collapse on the main scoring option, and coaches utilize the excess game tape material to focus on players' intangibles.
So how is it that the 22-year-old Rose is actually putting up better statistics in April than he was in previous months?
The answer? He's just that good.
Rose averaged 21.5 points per game in December, and shot 43.4 percent from the field, while shooting 77 percent from the free-throw line.
In regular season games in April, Rose averaged 25.4 points per game, shot 52 percent from the field, and 88 percent from the free-throw line.
In the two playoff games at the United Center, Rose is averaging 37.5 points per game, and shooting an amazing 91 percent from the free-throw line, with only his field-goal percentage taking a dip to 43.8 percent.
This is an excellent player, who is playing at the top of his game.
While you might expect Rose to slow down a bit in the playoffs after playing 82 games and averaging 37.4 minutes per game, he's actually risen to the challenge. The only way a team like Indiana can contain Rose is to force him into taking outside shots he's not comfortable taking. Rose was 0-9 from beyond the arc in Game One, while converting 10-14 in his other shots.
If Rose gets into a comfort zone where he can come off screens with ease and get a good look at the outside shot, just go home. He's going to go for 45 points, while defenders will be left shaking their heads.
Oddly, Rose has yet to find that type of rhythm recently, and it seems like it can happen at any time.
That's bad news for the Pacers.