- Associated Press - Saturday, May 7, 2011

ATLANTA (AP) - Derrick Rose walked slowly out of the arena Saturday, large packs of ice wrapped around both knees.

After perhaps the best game of an already dynamic career, the Bulls star had no big plans for an off day in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Grab some dinner. Hang out with teammates. Watch the championship bout between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley.

His pick?

Pacquiao,” Rose said quickly. “I think everybody’s got Pacquiao.”

Speaking of guys on top of their game, Rose turned what had been a close series clearly in Chicago’s favor with his one-man beatdown of the Atlanta Hawks in Game 3. Rose knocked down jumpers. He was a blur darting into the lane. He was simply unstoppable, going for a career-high 44 points in the 99-82 victory Friday night.

The top-seeded Bulls, who shockingly lost at home in the series opener, are back in control with a 2-1 lead. And the Hawks better come up with a way to slow down the league’s youngest MVP just a bit, or their season isn’t going to last much longer.

“He started making outside shots,” said Atlanta guard Jeff Teague, who spent much of the night trying to guard Rose and still looked a bit shell-shocked the next day. “When he’s making outside shots like that, it’s tough to cover him.”

After watching the game tape, Hawks coach Larry Drew said he’s not concerned about Rose scoring so many points. After all, he’s put up 27 shots in each of the first three games, so he’s going to have big numbers just by sheer volume. But Drew said his team made it way too easy for Rose to slash into the lane, starting with Chicago’s second possession of the game.

“He went coast to coast against four guys for an uncontested layup,” Drew said. “He’s a phenomenal player. I’ll give credit where credit is due. But still, we have to be better at defending him and not just letting him get into the paint and score so easily.”

That, of course, is easy to draw up on a chalkboard. Try guarding Rose at game speed, when he’s dashing around the court so fast that everyone else appears to be in slow motion. He burned the Hawks for five layups, a dunk and a pair of running jumpers from in close.

“He’s probably the fastest guy in the league getting from end to end,” Teague said. “You’ve got to get three guys back to stop him in transition.”

When Rose is hitting outside jumpers like he was in Game 3, though, the other team is almost helpless. Of his 16 baskets, four came from beyond the arc. Three others were in the 18- to 21-foot range. When Teague got in Rose’s face, the Chicago star dribbled right past him. When Teague backed off, Rose took the open jumper _ and usually made it.

Look for the Hawks to come at Rose with some defensive alignments he hasn’t seen in this series. Perhaps some full-court pressure. Surely more trapping and double teams. Whether that makes much difference remains to be seen, but they clearly can’t stick with the same plan.

“We’ve got to try to figure out a new defense,” Teague said. “I don’t think we changed anything up during the course of the game. I’m sure next game, we’ll add different coverages and different schemes if he gets on a roll like that. … We have to. You can’t guard him the same way three games straight. He’s the MVP. He’s going to start picking you apart.”

Drew said his team has to get much more physical against Rose in Game 4 Sunday night. A bump here, a shove there. Knock him around a bit and hope it gets him out of his rhythm.

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