Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah come back to haunt their former team
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The cheers outweighed the boos for Derrick Rose, as the former Bulls standout made his first trip back to the United Center since being traded to New York in June.
A popularity contest wasn’t all the one-time Simeon High School great would win on Friday night either.
Thanks to Rose’s 15 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds, including a vintage Rose layup and foul with 1:30 left in the game to keep the lead at 10, the Knicks handed the Bulls (3-2) their second consecutive loss, 117-104.
And Rose wasn’t the only former Bull to turn back the clock to haunt an organization that he felt turned its back on him. Joakim Noah played one of his better games in two seasons, scoring 16 points and grabbing nine boards.
“It felt really good,’’ Noah said. “I’m not going to lie. It felt great. Everybody came with the right mindset. Derrick was doing what he does, just floor general, making great plays for everybody. But I’m not going to lie. This one felt really good.’’
As anticipated, the game had its share of heated moments, starting in the third quarter, after Rose hit a mid-range jumper to give his team the six-point lead.
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg called a timeout, and Rose walked down the middle of the court, gesturing a crowd he once called his own to “bring it on.’’
“It was probably from someone taunting me,’’ Rose said of the gesture. “I love to compete. That’s all that was. It wasn’t really nothing.’’
Midway through the fourth, Jimmy Butler and Noah had a run in, as Butler collided with Noah on the and-one, leading to the two exchanging some words.
“Remain for the book,’’ Butler said, when asked if he could detail what was said. “I don’t know, the guy likes to talk to me. I like to talk back, so. Just two guys out there competing.’’
Butler then rolled his eyes, obviously wanting to say more, but taking the high road.
Not that Butler and his new counterpart had a bad night, as Butler finished with 26 points and Dwyane Wade finished with 35, including 5-for-7 from three.
But Noah and Rose had a better supporting cast, as well as an agenda the Bulls couldn’t match.
“When somebody leaves an organization when they come back they want to do well, they want to win, they want to play well,’’ Wade said. “Whoever says they don’t is just flat-out lying. It’s no secret about that.
“Jo had a great game. Obviously we knew he was a great passer, but he scored 16 points for them. Those 16 points were hard to overcome. We weren’t banking on all of those.’’