Derrick Rose had a sub-par series in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat. Though he averaged 23.4 points per game for the series, he needed 24 shots per game to get there, and he only shot 35% on field goals and a brutal 23.3% on threes. Rose improved his outside jumper in the offseason to add an extra dimension to his game, which helped him win the MVP award. Though you could argue that Rose was off for the series, the unbiased fan has to give proper credit to Miami’s defense for shutting down the MVP.
At the end of Game 4 and Game 5, LeBron James switched onto Derrick Rose to play one-on-one defense. He kept the Bulls point guard on the perimeter and forced him into contested jump shots. Per ESPN Stats & Info via SB Nation Chicago, Rose went 1-for-15 (6.67%) with three turnovers when guarded by LeBron. LeBron held Rose to the lowest shooting percentage of anyone who guarded him at least five plays during the playoffs.
While any viewer can see that LeBron caught fire at the end of Game 5 and recognize that he’s truly “closed out” several games these playoffs, it takes a much more discerning eye to realize how good his defense was. LeBron is not just an elite one-way player; He may also be the best defensive player in the game. The mind-blowing stats prove it.