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Rose scores season-high 34 points in Bulls’ victory

This news story was published on January 28, 2012.
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By K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune –

CHICAGO — The Indiana Pacers lost in Boston on Friday night, so they couldn’t have been in a United Center hallway still celebrating their Wednesday victory over the Bulls and making Derrick Rose’s ears burn.

But Rose played like something was aflame, scoring a season-high 34 points in the Bulls’ 107-100 victory over the Bucks.

(PHOTO: The Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose (1) drives against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first quarter at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, on Friday, January 27, 2012. The Bulls won, 107-100.)

Maybe it was Brandon Jennings’ 16-point first quarter. Whatever it was, Rose attacked the rim with more typical ferocity, getting to the line 10 times and scoring on a variety of floaters and spin moves inside.

What sprained toe?

“He was very, very aggressive,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He’s feeling a lot better. He was in attack mode. And that set the tone for us.”

The Bulls, playing without Richard Hamilton and Luol Deng, also welcomed active efforts from Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer that resulted in the sixth double-double of the season for both.

Noah snared a season-high 16 rebounds, eight on the offensive end, as the Bulls posted 25 second-chance points on 20 offensive rebounds. That’s double-digit rebounds in five straight and seven of eight games for Noah.

“He has been on an upward trend for six or seven games now,” Thibodeau said. “His energy is really good. His conditioning and timing are coming around. He’s putting extra work in. When he practices well, he plays well.”

Boozer had 20 points and 13 rebounds in the Bulls’ last home game before a season-high nine-game trip.

Boozer found himself alongside former Jazz teammates Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver in the starting lineup with Hamilton and Deng injured. Though Brewer crashed to earth with a 2-for-13 performance, he had six assists and played solid defense.

Korver, in his first start since February 2009, contributed nine points, including two 3-pointers. C.J. Watson added 13 points off the bench, logging some fourth-quarter minutes alongside Rose.

“C.J. gave us a big lift,” Thibodeau said. “Ronnie didn’t score, but his defense was good. And Kyle was just really solid.”

Rookie Jon Leuer injected life into a Bucks comeback attempt after not playing in the first half. He scored 19 points in 20 minutes to pull them to 96-90 late. But Rose calmly sank a baseline floater with 2 minutes, 45 seconds left, and Noah followed Watson’s miss to push the lead back to 10.

“He did what he does,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said of Rose.

Rose shrugged.

“My whole mindset was attacking,” he said. “At shootaround, Thibs was showing me film of me attacking. That’s all I tried to do.”

Now comes Sunday’s eagerly anticipated matchup with the Heat, the teams’ first meeting since the Bulls lost in five games in the Eastern Conference finals. The Bulls won all three regular-season meetings last season.

“Sunday is definitely not another game,” Noah said.

But Rose demurred.

“We know people will try to blow it up to this championship game,” he said. “We’re not worried about that. We’re just worried about ourselves.

“They’re a good team. But we’ll be ready.”

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