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updated: 2/3/2011 8:22 PM

Rose, the Bulls' lone all-star, shines against Clippers

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  • Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose reacts after making a three-point basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game with the Los Angeles Clippers in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. The Bull won 106-88.

      Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose reacts after making a three-point basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game with the Los Angeles Clippers in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. The Bull won 106-88.
    Associated Press


Here's one way of looking at the Bulls' all-star snub:

If the 2011 NBA All-Star Game includes four players from the Celtics, three from the Heat and two each from the Spurs, Lakers, Thunder and Hawks, then Derrick Rose must be the league's most valuable player.

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As of Thursday morning, the Bulls (34-14) were tied with Miami for the league's third-best record. Only San Antonio and Boston are better.

The Bulls have a nice team, obviously, but when it comes to star power Rose is basically doing the work of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined. At least, that's how the Eastern Conference coaches voted.

The East all-star reserves are Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett from Boston; Al Horford and Joe Johnson from Atlanta, along with Miami's Bosh.

The West reserves included San Antonio's Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, the Lakers' Pau Gasol, Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki, Utah's Deron Williams and the Clippers' Blake Griffin.

The coaches didn't select Bulls forward Luol Deng, who was being promoted as an all-star by coach Tom Thibodeau for the past week.

Carlos Boozer or Joakim Noah probably would have made it if they'd been healthier. But Boozer has missed 18 games with a broken hand and sprained ankle. Noah has been sidelined by a torn ligament in his right thumb since Dec. 16.

Once again, Rose was the only all-star the Bulls needed late Wednesday night. He produced 32 points and 11 assists as the Bulls ended the nine-game home winning streak of the Los Angeles Clippers with a convincing 106-88 victory at Staples Center.

"Our confidence is very high," Rose told reporters after the game. "We're still under the radar, but that's fine with us. We're just going to try to keep getting wins. We're still missing a big piece in Joakim, but we're still finding ways to win."

Rose got things started by knocking down 3 straight 3-point shots in the first quarter. The Bulls never trailed, but led by just 6 at halftime. The visitors opened both the third and fourth quarters with 7-0 runs, which sent the advantage to 18 points.

"The way he started off the game set the tone for us," coach Tom Thibodeau said of Rose. "Very aggressive, pick and roll, running the team, I thought aggressive defensively. I thought he did a lot of good things. When he's going like that, he lifts the whole team."

Griffin, the Clippers' second-year rookie, scored 25 points in the first half, then tacked on just 7 after halftime. Luol Deng added 26 points for the Bulls, while Carlos Boozer had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Rose looked to the first game against the Clippers for inspiration. The Bulls lost 100-99 on Dec. 18 after he missed a free throw that would have tied it with 0.8 seconds on the clock.

That loss was hardly because of Rose's miss. The Bulls let the Clippers score 61 points and shoot 61 percent in the first half. They trailed by 7 points with 42 seconds left and needed a near-miracle to even have a chance to tie.

"They beat us the last time, and I wanted some revenge," Rose said after Wednesday's game. "It was because of me that we lost that game, and that really hurt me. If anything, it made me stronger as a player."

The Bulls did not practice Thursday, but flew to San Francisco in preparation for Saturday's game against Golden State.

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