Chicago Bulls win in Derrick Rose return
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Eastern Conference became a lot more interesting after Derrick Rose’s successful return to the Chicago Bulls.
The former MVP scored 13 points in 20 minutes in an 82-76 exhibition victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.
“Same old Derrick Rose,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “He looked great.”
Rose led the Bulls to the No. 1 seed in the East two seasons ago before he tore his left ACL during the playoffs, then missed all of last season while recovering. He said he had some nerves Saturday that quickly went away.
“I felt great,” Rose said. “I felt normal, I felt the way I’ve been playing in practice. I’m just trying to get my timing back.”
He was at his lightning-fast best against the Pacers in the preseason opener for both teams, breaking away for several layups and converting a steal and dunk in the third quarter. He appeared unafraid of contact, constantly challenging Indiana’s large front line.
“That’s the way he played before the injury, and he’s back to playing like that,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “And for him, that’s his game. The speed, the quickness, the power to go along with it — that’s what makes him so special and unique. There’s no one like him.”
Rose misconnected with his teammates several times and committed four turnovers. Rose said he was going too fast, and his coach agreed.
“The speed at which he plays, you’ve got to get accustomed to,” Thibodeau said. “His teammates have to get used to it again, and he has to get used to it, but overall, I thought he played very, very well.”
Indiana’s Danny Granger also returned after missing most of last season with a left knee injury. He finished with six points on 2-for-10 shooting in 29 minutes.
“He was a little rusty, and I wouldn’t expect anything but that,” Vogel said. “His game condition is in the final part of his recovery.”
Taj Gibson had 18 points and 12 rebounds, Luol Deng scored 15 points and Jimmy Butler added 11 for the Bulls. Paul George and David West each scored 14 points and Roy Hibbert … [For more on Chicago Bulls win in Derrick Rose return, click here.]