Derrick Rose is no Michael Jordan. Any suggestion otherwise would probably be irresponsible.
But, after this afternoon's sterling performance in the Bulls' 105-103 Game 1 victory over the Boston Celtics, it's safe to say that the rookie answered any questions that existed about how he'd handle the postseason pressure.
It should be noted beating the Celtics in the playoffs is something Jordan never accomplished.
The Chicago native poured in 36 points, dished out 11 assists and made everyone of his teammates better during the surprising victory. That's exactly what is expected of great players.
Rarely do 20-year-olds show such poise in situations so packed with pressure. Taking on the defending NBA champions in their own building isn't supposed to be as easy as Rose made it seem.
But, we shouldn't be surprised. The phenom played with the same sense of composure as a freshman during Memphis' NCAA tournament run a year ago. Still, his performance today should elevate him even higher in his quest to become the heir apparent to Jordan in this town.
He's proven he can step up in the playoffs and carry a team to victory when it matters the most. Bulls fans thought he could do it, and he provided the tangible proof of what he's capable of.
Again, there's a ton of basketball to be played, and winning three more games against the veteran Celtics won't be easy. But, stealing a game on the road on the strength of a rising star's playoff coming-out party has to get the fan base excited.
Are you starting to believe a little more, Bulls fans? Does Rose's play today buoy your hopes for the years to come? Or was this just an aberration?