- Nick Friedell, Chicago Bulls beat reporter
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ORLANDO -- Derrick Rose doesn't want to think about the MVP award, but he can't help but think about the possibilities when asked.
"It would mean a lot. It would definitely mean something," Rose said after Sunday's game. "But I think that we have a special team. I think winning a championship would mean more to me than an MVP award."
Game meant nothing?: Anyone who thinks they can draw conclusions from how the Bulls or the Magic played in Sunday afternoon’s 102-99 Bulls win obviously didn't get a chance to hear Stan Van Gundy speak before the game. Without Dwight Howard on the floor (suspension), Van Gundy didn’t think either team would take much away from the contest.
"We won't learn anything," Van Gundy said. "We won't. We'll play the game hard and hopefully do well, but we won't learn anything because obviously a good part of what we do on both ends of the floor revolves around Dwight and he won't be there so we really won't learn much."
For the Bulls part, they're just glad they picked up another win, whether Howard was on the floor or not.
"A win is a win," Rose said. "We're not worried about that. In this league, it's hard to win. Even when the best player on the other teams, when they don't play, some of the other players that come off the bench are playing for their opportunity, so sometimes [they play] even harder."
Closing out: Despite the victory, Rose was upset that his team struggled again to close out the game.
"We had them," Rose said. "We should have easily put them away, but we continue to let teams come back and it's going to hurt us if we continue to do this. But we're definitely happy with this win."
Rose knows it's a recurring problem.
"We've been doing this the whole year," he said. "Where we'll give up on teams and let them come back. We just have to learn how to put teams away, that's about it."
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau put it this way: "They played extremely well," he said of the Magic. "It was a good game for us. Our defense wasn't very good. Our rebounding was below average and we didn't take care of the ball. We were fortunate to win."
Rose feeling fine: Rose took a took a pounding on Sunday and admitted that it was one of the bigger beatings he's taken in a while, but he said he feels fine.
"You're used to it," he said. "It's basketball. You just don't want to stop because they're fouling you. If anything, it makes you go harder."
The last word: Rose, discussing the MVP race between himself and Howard.
"Dwight, he's been great. He's been doing this for years. Averaging 20 [points], like 15, 16 rebounds. He's an awesome candidate for it, but myself, I'm just trying to win games. I'm not worried about that at all. I'm just worried about us finishing games when we have a lead like we did tonight."
Derrick Rose would love to be MVP, but his focus remains on the NBA title.