Derrick Rose Returns, Bulls Cut Down Nets 110-95

by on February 21st, 2015
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According to the announcers on TV, Derrick Rose didn’t want to sit out any of the games he missed. Monday, he finally put his foot down and said he was playing.

And so he did, without showing any signs of an injury. Rose continued his winning ways against the other elite point guards in the league, this time beating Deron Williams and the New Jersey Nets, 110-95.

The Bulls have been anything but healthy lately. Rip Hamilton returned from a prolonged absence just in time for Rose to start missing games. Rose admitted that his toe “is never going to be right this year.” Taj Gibson missed his second straight game with a sprained ankle, while Luol Deng also sat out with a sprained wrist. Joakim Noah also returned from a one-game absence, also from a sprained ankle. The Bulls, being perhaps the deepest team in the league, haven’t let the injuries slow them down.

Monday night was just another day at the office, but with a slightly different lineup. Ronnie Brewer filled in for the injured Deng, and he continues to shoot the ball with confidence and accuracy. He made a jumper and a layup in the opening minutes. Rose made his first shot attempt, a 3-pointer, at the 8:21 mark, and Brewer followed it up with another 3 of his own. After a Noah 3-point play, and two nice assists by Rose, the Bulls were up 20-8. Fan favorite Brian Scalabrine also received significant playing time, entering the game with 4:54 left. It was the first time all season he played outside of 4th-quarter garbage time. He earned it, too, playing aggressively and even taking the ball to the hoop. The Bulls ended the quarter up 28-18.

In the second quarter, the “Bench Mob” took over. Korver and Watson started off the scoring. Asik scored on three straight trips, two of which were assisted by Scal (those two have really played well together, as if they had been high school teammates or something), and Hamilton was knocking down shots, well, like it’s his job (which it is). With just under 6 minutes remaining, Rose returned to the game, and showed everyone that his toe was not going to stop him. Boozer batted a loose ball towards the other end, and Rose chased it down for an easy dunk. Then, seconds later, Rose intercepted a cross-court pass, and took it for another easy dunk. He ended the scoring with a pretty crossover layup over 2 defenders, looking like his usual, explosive self. At halftime, the Bulls were up 59-43.

In the 3rd quarter, Hamilton assisted to Noah three times in four trips to put the Bulls up 68-47. The Nets countered with a 7-0 run, forcing a Bulls timeout. Hamilton then started knocking down shots around another Rose signature drive, as the teams traded baskets. The Nets kept making 3’s to cut into the lead, but every time they made a run, the Bulls came back. The Nets got as close as 12 points in the quarter, but a Hamilton 3-pointer and a Boozer layup put the Bulls back up 19, before ending the quarter up 85-68.

The Bulls essentially coasted through the fourth quarter; highlights that I noted were Scal taking a charge, and also having a nice spin move and baby hook shot. It’s easy to see why coach Thibodeau wanted to bring him from Boston; he’s a smart, savvy veteran. Final score, Bulls win 110-95.

Stats:
The Bulls had 33 assists on 43 field goals, shot 57%, and had 6 players in double-figures. Hamilton and Rose each scored 22 points, and had 10 and 8 assists respectively. Noah and 16 and 10 rebounds. Rose played 36 minutes in his return. Scal played just under 23 (his most playing time since the final game of ’09-’10), notching 5 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds. Might as well have been a triple-double for him!

Sources:
AP, “Rose says toe injury might be issue rest of season”


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