Derrick Rose continued to prove why he was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 2-1 series lead over the Atlanta Hawks with a 99-82 victory in game three on May 6.

Rose, a point guard who has the green light to shoot, scored a career-playoff-high 44 points with seven assists and five rebounds.

“He’s tough to cover anyway,” said Atlanta guard Jeff Teague, who had to cover Rose most of the night. “But when his jump shot is falling, he’s the MVP.”

The Hawks couldn’t keep up with Rose’s pace; Teague led Atlanta with 21 points, while forward Josh Smith followed with 17 points and 13 rebounds, but it wasn’t nearly enough to match the Bulls and a red-hot Rose.

“You have to match their effort and energy,” Hawks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “If you don’t do that against this team, you put yourself behind the 8-ball.”

The Hawks will try to even the series in Game 4 in Atlanta on Sunday, May 8.