Make no mistake about it: Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant are the future faces of the NBA. But as of today both players and their teams have a lot to learn. Both the Thunder and Bulls are in 3-1 holes in their respective conference finals and history isn’t on their side.
The last time a team came back from a 3-1 deficit to win a conference championship was in 1981 when the Boston Celtics defeated the Philadelphia 76ers.
Understand that Derrick Rose was not named league MVP by mistake. Durant didn’t lead the league in scoring for consecutive seasons because he sucks. Both players are All-Star players and deserve to be in the positions that they’re in. Right now they’re just out-classed.
In Game 4 of each series I watched monumental meltdowns from the Bulls and Thunder respectively and one thing was apparent — experience trumps youth. Rose and Durant tried their hardest to put their teams on their backs but were out-gunned by their opposition. Both players took maddening contested shots and made careless turnovers when the game mattered most.
After losing Game 4 in Miami Derrick Rose accepted responsibility for his mistakes.
“Tonight was definitely on me,” Rose said. “I had three opportunities to end the game. I couldn’t do it. I have to learn from it. Too many turnovers. It really was my fault. But I’m going to learn from it.”
The Thunder blew a 15-point lead to the Mavericks and ended up losing Game 4 in overtime. Durant was irritated when asked if inexperience was responsible for the collapse. “Our youth has nothing to do with what we were doing on the floor,” Durant said. “They made shots, we didn’t.”
I respectfully disagree with KD.
Both Durant and Rose are playing against veteran teams with more offensive fire power. Dallas and Miami’s main players LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, and Jason Terry have all made trips to the NBA Finals. They know what it takes to win, the Thunder and the Bulls don’t.
Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron James are showing the world why they have a spot booked in the Hall of Fame with their clutch play in the 2011 Playoffs. Rose and Durant should take note. The moment is never too big for Nowitzki, James, Kidd or Wade who’ve all taken postseason lumps early in their careers. Now each player is a game away from playing for all the marbles.
Derrick Rose is the best point guard in the NBA and Kevin Durant is the best scorer in the NBA, but they can’t do it alone. While both players are 22 years young, they’re also playing with other young players and relatively inexperienced coaches. The beauty of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Chicago Bulls is their youth and hopefully each team can learn and grow together.
Whether the Thunder or Bulls go fishing in Games 5, 6 or 7 doesn’t matter. What’s important is that each superstar learns from their current situation as not to repeat the same mistakes in the future. I trust that they will. Rose and Durant are tireless workers with hard working teammates. The league is in good hands and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Thunder/Bulls NBA Finals in the near future.