Derrick Rose scored a career-high 42 points adding eight assists and just one turnover as the steady Chicago Bulls topped the team with the best record at the All-Star break in the San Antonio Spurs 109-99 Thursday night from the United Center in downtown Chicago, Illinois.
Rose had his game going all night long connecting on an incredible 18 of 28 shots from the floor and 6 of 6 from the free throw line.
With his incomparable speed and ability to attack the rim, Rose punished the veteran Spurs early manipulating the pick and roll like a surgeon as he sliced his way to the basket easily scoring over San Antonio’s slow and unathletic front court defenders.
Coach Popovich and the Spurs attempted to make an adjustment at the half going under the screen on high pick and rolls, but Rose unfazed confidently displayed his vast improvement shooting from the perimeter by knocking down mid-range jumpers from seemingly every spot out on the perimeter.
Tony Parker did his best to counter Rose leading the way for the Spurs (46-10) with 26 points on the night in a losing effort as the two premier point-men had a nice little game within the game going on for three quarters until Chicago broke things open early in the fourth.
Chicago used its advantage up front to out-rebound San Antonio 41-29 even without having the services of their leading rebounder in starting center Joakim Noah – still out until after the All-Star break due to an injured thumb.
The Spurs frontline of Tim Duncan, DeJaun Blair, Antonio McDyess, and Matt Bonner combined for just 23 points on the night.
Oh what a difference a year makes.
This time last season the Bulls were a game under .500, having compiled a mediocre record of just 25-26 before the 2010 All-Star break.
With the win over the Spurs on Thursday night, Chicago now stands at an impressive 38-16 (25-4 at home) on the season, just two games behind Boston and Miami heading into this year’s All-Star festivities.
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