Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Thorn in Their Side

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Thorn in Their Side

Article excerpt

CHICAGO -- The lights dimmed at the United Center, the arena lit up only by the red Glow Sticks the fans waved. And as the players were introduced one by one the crowd grew louder until a din overpowered the public address announcer, drowning out the sound of Derrick Rose's name being called.

But even without being able to hear it, the chants that ensued of, "M-V-P," made it clear that Rose was back, taking the floor at the United Center for the first time in a regular-season game since he hobbled off with a torn anterior cruciate ligament on April 28, 2012.

The Rose that returned to Chicago on this night wasn't yet the player who left the floor with the injury that sidelined him for the entire 2012-13 season. And maybe the Bulls aren't yet the team they were with him -- and even without him last year.

But when they needed it most, the Bulls put the ball in his hands, and with 5.7 seconds left Rose dropped in a floater from the right side of the lane, lifting the Bulls to an 82-81 win.

Rose finished with 18 points on 7-of-23 shooting. If it wasn't quite the same Bulls as last season when the Knicks were swept in the four-game series, it was good enough to send them to the locker room frustrated once again.

The Knicks haven't won in the United Center since Nov. 4, 2010.

Playing on the back end of back-to-back games to start the season, the Knicks appeared on the verge of falling apart at times, even imploding among themselves as they screamed at each other amid blown defensive assignments. But down by 10 early in the fourth quarter they battled back, tying the game with 4:47 to play when Iman Shumpert misfired from the corner, but hustled in, grabbed the rebound and dunked it for a 76-76 tie.

The Knicks then pushed in front with a Carmelo Anthony steal and jumper. But as soon as they took the lead Rose knotted it back up with a pair of free throws and Joakim Noah added two more to put the Bulls back in front.

Down the stretch, Shumpert swiped the dribble from Rose and was fouled, tying the game up again with a pair of free throws with 1:27 left. And then in traffic with the Knicks' defense converging, he threw the ball way with 36 seconds left and the score tied. …

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