Bulls' Rose has MVP credentials

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:25 PM ET

LOS ANGELES — No player headed into the all-star break on a better roll than Derrick Rose.

No player speaks less than Rose, who relishes the spotlight as much as having the ball taken out of his hands when opponents come with an extra defender.

“He has taken a monster leap this year,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who will guide the West against Rose’s East all-stars on Sunday.

“What’s really great about him is he seems to love the pressure of putting his team on his back. He has the character and the demeanor to do that.”

Rose torched the Spurs for a career-high 42 points in leading Chicago to its 38th win of the season last Thursday.

With Rose, the Bulls are positioned for homecourt in the post-season.

Not since Michael Jordan in 1998 has a member of the Bulls started in an all-star game.

Rose is not only one of the players to keep an eye on Sunday, but he’s also a name worth watching as the league’s MVP race plays out.

LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Rose are among the leading candidates when the post all-star break unfolds.

“It’s confidence,” the soft-spoken Rose said after Saturday’s all-star practice. “My teammates have given me confidence. They trust me and they allow me to do what needs to be done on the floor.”

Rose’s Bulls pay a visit to the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday. The following night, the Bulls will play host to the Heat in what may turn out as a preview of an Eastern semi-final matchup.


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