Bulls cruise to win, but Rose leaves game hurt
The good news is, for the second time in three days, the Bulls went on the road and put a game out of reach before the first quarter ended.
They jumped to a 35-14 advantage after 12 minutes and coasted to a 108-87 victory at New Jersey on Monday night.
The bad news is Derrick Rose walked gingerly to the locker room late in the second quarter after aggravating a sore back. He played just less than 11 minutes and didn't return in the second half.
The good news is guys such as C.J. Watson and Kyle Korver play well when given extended minutes, and the Bulls are now 14-1 against teams with losing records, despite all their injuries.
Next up are visits to two of the worst teams in the league, New Orleans and Charlotte, before closing the nine-game road trip in Boston on Sunday.
Rose's future status was unclear Monday night, but, all things considered, this is a good time to give him a few days off.
"I feel all right, just back spasms," Rose told reporters after the game. "It's nothing to worry about. Tomorrow we have a day off and I'll get treatment. I'll get a massage and hopefully I can play the next game."
Just before leaving the game, Rose jumped to throw a pass against a Nets double-team. But there may not have been one play that caused the problem.
During Saturday's win over Milwaukee, assistant trainer Jeff Tanaka spent time stretching Rose's back on the sideline.
"He's had some stiffness now," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We'll see where he is tomorrow."
The Bulls (21-6) shot the lights out from the opening tip, hitting their first 9 shots and 11 of the first 12. For the second game in a row, they hit 7 of their first 9 attempts from 3-point range.
Luol Deng appeared to have no problems while playing his second game since suffering a torn ligament in his left wrist. He knocked down 3 early 3-pointers, eventually finishing with 19 points.
"He said he's fine during the game. The concern was what he was going to be like the next day," Thibodeau said. "We practiced the day after the Milwaukee game and he said he felt really good. So that was encouraging. We're hopeful that it will continue to be that way."
Carlos Boozer led the team with 24 points. Watson produced 14 points and 11 assists, his second career double-double. Ronnie Brewer scored 12 points and Taj Gibson had 11, while Joakim Noah grabbed 12 rebounds.
"C.J., I thought was terrific running the team, playing very good defense," Thibodeau said. "He did a lot of great things or us. Carlos was very, very good. Jo was active when they were trapping, trying to get the ball out of Derrick's hands. And Luol was Luol. He just does everything for us."
The Bulls got a chance to meet up with old friend Keith Bogans, who played his fourth game since signing with the Nets. Bogans started at shooting guard and scored 7 points.
Last season Bogans started every game for the Bulls, including playoffs. During the long off-season, it was obvious the team needed an offensive upgrade at shooting guard, but they strung him along and let him practice with the team up until the start of training camp.
At that point, the Bulls didn't let Bogans practice and a few days later declined to pick up his contract option after signing Richard Hamilton.
"It was tough," Bogans said before the game, according to espn.com. "Right now I'm at that point where I don't even care to talk about it any more.
"It was a learning experience for me. I just looked at it as I'm going to take it and turn it into a positive and make them make me work my butt off. And that's what I did. It was fun playing with them last year, but as far as that goes, I'm done with it."