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Friday, November 19, 2010
Red-hot Derrick Rose is next PG challenge

By Jeff Caplan


The Dallas Mavericks' parade of opposing point guards continues tonight when Derrick Rose leads the Chicago Bulls into American Airlines Center.

First it was the Boston Celtics' NBA assist leader Rajon Rondo dropping 15 dimes, but the Mavs rallied for a two-point win. Then Chris Paul combined for 42 points and 20 assists as the New Orleans Hornets and Mavs split an intense home-and-home series.

"They’re all dynamic and they all cause major problems in several areas," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "One guy might be a little more of a scorer, another guy might a little more of a break-you-down assist [guy], impact-the-game-with-steals type of situation."

Now the old school (Jason Kidd) vs. new school point-guard battle centers on the highest-scoring point guard in the league. Rose is averaging 25.5 points a game and he's not doing it by just jacking up a ton of shots. He's hitting 48.1 percent of his attempts and is a respectable 34.2 percent from the 3-point arc.

And even though Rose has scored no fewer than 16 points in a game this season and gone for 30 in three of 10 games, it's not entirely accurate to simply categorize the 6-foot-3 speed demon as a score-first point guard. He ranks eighth in the league with 8.7 assists, just one per game less than Kidd (9.8), who ranks fourth.

Rose put up 33 points for a second consecutive game Wednesday in a loss at San Antonio. He had just four assists -- and 11 in the last two games while scoring 66 points -- against the Spurs, who blew the game open with a 37-12 third quarter, but Rose had little help from his teammates.

In the two previous games, wins over the Washington Wizards and Golden State Warriors, Rose combined for 46 points and 21 assists.

Kidd and J.J. Barea handled most of the defensive duties against Rondo and Paul, along with extended runs of zone defense. Rose is physically the biggest, strongest and fastest of the three. His height will make life tough on Barea and his quickness will test Kidd. Starting shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson could get time on Rose and don't discount Shawn Marion in spurts, along with more of an improving zone defense.

"They’re all great and there’s not one guy on our team that can guard somebody head-up and expect to stop them," Carlisle said of the opposing point guards. "It’s always going to be a five-man responsibility, and that’s why it’s a team game."

The point-guard parade continues later this month when the Mavs visit Oklahoma City and Russell Westbrook (Wednesday) and then go to San Antonio (Nov. 26) where Tony Parker is off to a career-year averaging 7.6 assists. On Nov. 27 at the AAC, a guy named LeBron James comes to town with the Miami Heat (Nov. 27). Not a true point guard? James is averaging 8.9 assists a game -- tied with Steve Nash for sixth in the NBA.