The Knicks, of course, have Jeremy Lin, who has ridden a few late-game heroics, a plethora of bad puns, and the hyperventilating New York City media to become a national phenomenon. His counterpart at point guard for the Bulls just happens to be the reigning NBA most valuable player, Derrick Rose.
Monday, it was no contest, as the Bulls beat the Knicks 104-99.
It isn't that Lin doesn't have skills. He scored 15 points and passed out eight assists, and he blocked a Rose shot from behind in the second quarter. It's just that Rose's skills dwarf Lin's.
Dictating the tempo throughout and putting up a Jordan-esque 29 shots, Rose scored a game-high 32 and added seven assists. Yet he also forced Lin into five fouls—and thought he should have drawn more—and just plain outmuscled him, as on this monstrous dunk toward the end.
Rose signed a big new contract this year, but contrary to the notion that he might rest on his laurels he actually built himself up with an offseason training regimen. He's clearly more chiseled than ever, and stronger than ever going to the hoop. When Stacey King says Rose is "Too fast, too strong, too good," the emphasis now should be on the "strong." Monday, he made his prime opponent seem Linsignificant.