Derrick Rose scores season-high 35 in win over 76ers
BY NEIL HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org March 4, 2012 10:52PM
Derrick Rose takes a jump shot as the 76ers' Jrue Holiday looks on Sunday. | Tom Mihalek~AP
Updated: April 6, 2012 8:14AM
PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia 76ers have the Bulls attention, all right. If they didn’t have it before Sunday night’s game at the Wells Fargo Center, they certainly have it now.
The Bulls have a new nemesis. The 76ers aren’t at the level of the Heat, and they don’t have the history the Bulls have with the Pacers, who visit the United Center on Monday night, but Doug Collins’ team gives them fits.
It took an epic performance from Derrick Rose for the Bulls to win their sixth consecutive game. Although he rarely is mentioned as an MVP candidate this season, he played like one again, driving the baseline for a jaw-dropping runner to give the Bulls a four-point lead with 20.2 seconds left en route to a 96-91 win.
He finished with a season-high 35 points. He also had eight assists.
“I hit crazy shots all the time,” Rose said. “That was definitely a crazy shot.”
The Bulls were watching the Lakers defeat the Heat in the locker room before the game. They knew what was at stake. A win would give them some wiggle room in the race for home-court advantage.
Given that and the Sixers’ success against them, it seemed unlikely they would come out flat, but they did. Rose had to made a 22-foot, step-back jumper as the horn sounded to give the Bulls 40 points at halftime.
He made another long jumper at the horn to knot the score after three. The Bulls twice pulled away in the fourth only to have the Sixers claw back each time.
“I just try to do whatever it takes to win the game,” Rose said. “Scoring, passing, whatever. Tonight, it was making shots.”
Luol Deng had a season-high 24 points against the Cavaliers on Friday night, but he didn’t make a shot until there was 10:28 left in the game when he canned a three-pointer to give the Bulls a five-point lead. Much like he did in a win over the San Antonio Spurs to start this three-game trip, he buried another less than a minute later and finished with eight.
C.J. Watson twisted his ankle before halftime but returned to score seven of his nine in the fourth. Carlos Boozer had 13 points and seven rebounds while Joakim Noah had 11 points and a season-high 18 rebounds.
Thaddeus Young had 17 for the Sixers while Jrue Holiday added 16.
In their last meeting on Feb. 1, the visiting Bulls lost 98-82. The Bulls were without Deng and Rip Hamilton, and Rose missed the shootaround and sat out the fourth quarter.
But these Bulls take losses hard regardless of the circumstances. The 76ers had defeated them in three consecutive games, which Rose found intolerable.
“I was just excited to play them again,” Rose said. “I remember playing them here a little while ago and they got the best of us. They are a great team. I wanted to play them again.”
The revenge angle continues tonight when the Pacers visit.
“I haven’t forgotten about anything,” Rose said when asked if he remembered the Pacers celebrating at the United Center after beating the Bulls on Jan. 25. “I remember that.”