Bulls' Rose puts on Magic show
By ANDREW SELIGMAN
CHICAGO — Derrick Rose made a statement and issued a warning.
If there are any doubts about his ankle, forget it. And if anyone wants to count out the Chicago Bulls, forget that, too.
"If we continue to play this way, good things are going to happen for us," Rose said.
Rose scored 30 points and the Bulls beat the Orlando Magic, 101-93, last night for their season-high fourth straight win.
For all the speculation about coach Vinny Del Negro's job status, the Bulls are playing their best ball of the season — and so is Rose, who finished two points shy of a career high he set against Atlanta last month.
Slowed by an ankle injury early on, he started the new year on the right foot after averaging just over 20 points in December.
"I was just trying to attack," he said. "I've told you that I'd do anything to help my team win, and that's what I was doing out there tonight."
Rose scored the final six points of a 20-2 run spanning the second and third quarters that gave Chicago a 13-point lead, and he hit two free throws with 24.5 seconds left in the game to make it 98-93 after J.J. Redick hit a 3-pointer to pull Orlando within three.
The Magic called time, but Matt Barnes missed a lean-in 3-point attempt, and Jameer Nelson clanged another from beyond the arc. Ryan Anderson then had another shot from long range rim out with seven seconds left off an inbound pass, and the Bulls hung on from there.
"We just didn't have the fire we needed to compete against a team like this," Barnes said. "They play on a lot of emotion and a lot of adrenalin and a lot of hustle. They beat us to all the loose balls."
The Bulls' John Salmons scored 15, Luol Deng added 14 points and nine rebounds, and Taj Gibson scored 10 while pulling down 12 boards.