Larry Drew wants tougher play

Updated: May 8, 2011, 2:06 AM ET
By Michael Wallace | ESPN.com

Atlanta Hawks coach Larry Drew wants his team to be in a foul mood for Game 4 Sunday night.

Well, at least a more physical one after seeing league MVP Derrick Rose score a career-high 44 points in Friday's 99-82 victory, which gave the Chicago Bulls a 2-1 Eastern Conference semifinals series lead.

"The problem I had last night with his 44 was not that he scored 44, but how he got them," Drew said. "I told our guys, a guy that shoots the ball as much as he does -- there's a chance his numbers would be pretty good. But if we're allowing him to just constantly get to the paint and score on uncontested shots ... that's what I have a problem with."

Drew said Rose has performed up to his MVP billing, but also suggests the Hawks have been too accommodating defensively.

"He is a phenomenal player -- I give credit where credit is due," Drew said. "He's had an MVP year. But still, for us, we have to be better at defending him, not allowing him to get into the paint and score easily."

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau doesn't think the Hawks can play much harder on Rose than they already are.

"They're playing physical," he said. "That's who they are. This is playoff basketball. This is how it is. You got to deal with it."

In Game 3, the Hawks couldn't stop Rose regardless of where he attacked on offense. A breakdown of his effectiveness Friday revealed Rose was 6-of-9 on drives to the rim. And he made 7 of 14 shots outside of 15 feet, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range.

Even when the Hawks fouled Rose, he knocked down 8 of 9 attempts from the free throw line.

Drew wants his players to make matters more difficult for Rose.

"Without a doubt," Drew said. "From a physical standpoint, absolutely. I'm not saying hurt people or things like that. But you gotta give physical fouls. It's the playoffs."

Despite what Drew said, Thibodeau doesn't think the Hawks can give Rose a look, or play him a certain way, that he hasn't already seen.

"Derrick's faced every defense there is," Thibodeau said. "Underneath, the blitz, the hit, shows -- he knows what he has to do to attack."

As evidence of Atlanta's lack of defensive aggressiveness early, Drew pointed out that point guard Jeff Teague was the only Hawks starter with a foul in the first half.

"We played basketball, but we didn't play physical, playoff basketball," Drew said. "You're not going to win many games if you don't play physical and get fouls."

For his part, Rose believes the Hawks will try to come out even stronger and try to slow him down during Game 4.

"They're going to keep fighting," he said Saturday afternoon. "They've got a lot of great scorers on their team where they can cut a lead down, especially with the talent they have [on] their team. We just got to be aggressive with them. Be aggressive throughout the whole game and make it tough on them."

Michael Wallace covers the NBA for ESPN.com. Information from ESPNChicago.com's Nick Friedell was used in this report.

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