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updated: 1/9/2011 12:02 AM

Rose scores 36, powers Bulls past Celtics

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  • Derrick Rose celebrates with teammate James Johnson in the fourth quarter.

    Derrick Rose celebrates with teammate James Johnson in the fourth quarter.
    Associated Press


There should be a golden photo opportunity coming up soon when a United Center maintenance worker repaints the free-throw stripes.

Those lines on the court have rarely received as much foot traffic as they did Saturday when the Bulls snapped a two-game losing streak with an impressive 90-79 victory over the East-leading Boston Celtics.

After nearly three years of wondering what he has to do to get more foul calls during his athletic, acrobatic drives to the basket, Derrick Rose found the answer with a Bob Beamon-style dominance.

Rose shattered his previous record of 13 free-throw attempts by a wide margin. Against Boston, he went to the line 19 times during a scintillating 36-point performance. He made 15 of 19 free throws and 10 of 19 field-goal attempts.

"He was aggressive," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "When he plays like that, because he is generating speed, if there is contact, he will get more calls."

Rose suggested all those fouls were by design. Through film study in recent days, Rose realized he needed to take an extra dribble to help create contact on his way to the basket.

In Friday's loss at Philadelphia, Rose went 10-for-10 at the foul line. Before that, he'd averaged just 5.3 free-throw attempts per game, which ranks 25th in the league.

"Usually I just try to take off and avoid the contact or take off and they block my shot or something," Rose said. "Instead of me taking off pretty far (away), I'm finding an extra dribble and going into their body."

Another contributing factor to the free-throw frenzy was the presence of Boston's aging big men, Shaquille O'Neal and Jermaine O'Neal. Shaq is 38 while Jermaine is 32 but often plays more like 42. That pair collected 9 fouls between them.

Of course, getting fouled multiple times by O'Neal is no picnic either.

"I'm going to be sore," Rose said. "But I'm still learning how to get fouled. Going up and hitting Shaq every time, it hurts definitely, (like) running into a brick wall. But I've got to get up and I've got to learn from it. That's basketball."

Carlos Boozer added 22 points for the Bulls (24-12), who held Boston to 37.8 percent shooting from the field. The Bulls also won the rebounding battle 48-27.

Boozer is an advocate of unleashing a loud scream when he feels he's getting fouled. Asked about Rose's free-throw total, Boozer agreed that it's about time.

"I'm going to be honest: he's always aggressive like that," Boozer said. "Tonight, he got the calls. He always attacks the basket. He always creates contact."

Paul Pierce led the Celtics (28-8) with 21 points, while Ray Allen added 19. Point guard and Rose rival Rajon Rondo finished with 13 points, 8 assists and 5 steals.

Considering the Bulls were playing their fourth game in five nights, this was a solid performance on the heels of losses at New Jersey and Philadelphia.

"We put more into (the defense) and we got more out of it," Boozer said. "For us, we can learn from it. If we can play this kind of defense against the Celtics, we can play it against anybody."

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