Derrick Rose (CHI): 30 points (9-17 FG, 12-12 FT), 3 rebounds, 17 assists, 2 turnovers vs. Bucks
There's a lot for Bulls fans to like about their star point guard's performance last night in Milwaukee. Derrick Rose (see left) was not only the game's high-scorer, but he did it efficiently. Rose ended up at 53% from the field and a perfect 12-12 from the charity stripe last night--way above his 43.7% shooting average coming into last night's game. Even more impressive, though (and, ultimately, the reason he is featured in this column), was his performance distributing the ball. Rose, who we earlier found to be the 3rd best point guard in the NBA, had an assist on 17 of the 27 Bulls field goals that he himself did not make--that's 63% of his teammates' buckets! Also, in order to take 17 field goals (plus 12 free throws) and dish out 17 dimes, Rose must have had the ball in his hand almost the entire night. Despite that, he only committed 2 turnovers all game--for an astounding 8.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. He set a career-high in assists (his previous high was 14), and still contributed with scoring and efficiency. A pretty good night for the Bulls' budding star.
Albert Pujols (STL): 2-3, 3 RBIs, 2 Runs, 2 Home Runs vs. Marlins
Well, I guess he's in midseason form. And it's still March. Scary stuff. Wanna know something else scary? The size of the contract he's going to sign next winter. Oh, and he's won two gold gloves. And has a .331 career batting average. I'm glad I'm not a pitcher in the NL Central. Notice how Pujols is so scary-good that I can't compose a real post about him, instead I can only rant about how good he is. His career OPS in 1.050.
Vernon Macklin (Florida): 25 points (11-14 FG, 3-5 FT), 5 rebounds, 0 turnovers vs. Butler
I was originally going to pick Butler's Shelvin Mack for this last spot because of his huge role in Butler's overtime victory over Macklin's Gators yesterday. Then I realized that, winning and losing aside, Macklin did have the better line than Mack (confusing pair of names, I know). Not that winning and losing aren't important. In fact, they're the most important things in all of sports. Just not at this blog. We're trying to focus as much as possible on the statistics themselves. In that light, Macklin (see right) gets the nod here. As I'm sure you'll all learn about me eventually, I really like efficient basketball players. Any shot you take is one not taken by your teammates. And sure, you're better than they are, but that doesn't mean that you should be jacking up 3's as soon as you get across halfcourt (I'm looking at you, Jimmer-against-Florida). For that reason, I love what Macklin did last night. He managed 25 points on only 14 shots, including a 79% shooting clip from the floor. Pair that stat with his 0 turnovers, and you got yourself one of the most efficient games of the tournament. Oh, and he only did it in 24 minutes.