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Recap: Nets , Bulls
Date: January 23, 2012 8:00 PM EDT
  

CHICAGO (AP) - Derrick Rose had fans gasping in anticipation as he took off on the break, and they were breathless again seconds later as a similar scene unfolded.

Both times Rose took it easy on his sore foot. Otherwise, he showed no mercy.

Rose and Richard Hamilton each scored 22 points to lead the banged-up Chicago Bulls to an easy 110-95 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Monday.

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``I was scared to dunk like that, but other than that, chasing (Deron Williams) around, I didn't feel anything,' Rose said.

That was probably the best news on a night when the Bulls simply dominated the overmatched Nets.

Hamilton set season highs in points and assists (10). Rose added eight assists and hung with Williams after missing four games with a sprained left big toe.

Joakim Noah chipped in with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and the cruised to their fourth straight win even though they're hardly a picture of health at the moment.

Rose seemed hobbled at times but was able to stick with one of the game's best point guards, hours after he said the injury could be an issue the rest of the season. That doesn't necessarily mean he expects to miss more games.

``I didn't mean it that way,' he said. ``If someone steps on it, it's going to hurt. You never know. It might go the whole year and nobody touches it.'

Rose said the decision to play ultimately rests with him, and he was feeling well enough Monday to return to the lineup.

He got plenty of help from Hamilton, who delivered another strong performance after scoring 20 against Charlotte on Saturday. That's two strong performances for a veteran who has been limited by a groin problem in his first season with the Bulls, and while the scoring is nice, what really stood out is what he did when he wasn't putting the ball in the net.

``He makes the right play,' coach Tom Thibodeau said. ``When he's open, he shoots. When he's guarded, he makes the right read.'

Noah came up big, too, after missing a game with a sprained left ankle. Carlos Boozer had 14 points and nine rebounds, and Ronnie Brewer (11 points) filled in nicely with Luol Deng sidelined by a sprained left wrist.

Williams had 16 points and 10 assists for New Jersey. Jordan Farmar scored 22. Anthony Morrow added 15 points starting for MarShon Brooks (sore right Achilles tendon), but the Nets simply were simply overwhelmed playing their third game in as many nights.

``When the Bulls are energized and they get Derrick Rose back, they can score 110 on a lot of teams,' New Jersey coach Avery Johnson said.

The Bulls led by as much as 17 in the first half and went to the locker room up 59-43 with Rose and Hamilton leading the way.

Rose scored 14 in the half even though he appeared to be hobbling a bit. That didn't stop him from hitting two 3-pointers in the half, from finding Hamilton with a neat feed for an alley-oop layup in the first quarter or from wrapping two breakaway dunks around a steal during one 15-second stretch in the second quarter, although he went up easy on those jams.

``You can see he was a little tentative,' Williams said. ``Usually he'll attack a little bit more. But he didn't have to.'

Hamilton was active from the start, whether he was converting layups or burying jumpers. Brewer provided an early spark, too, with nine points in the first quarter, and even seldom-used backup Brian Scalabrine had his moments in the first half.

That included a neat driving reverse layup and feed from underneath to Omer Asik for another layup.

The Bulls did all that even though they were missing one of their best players in Deng, who was injured Saturday and might miss a few more games. Thibodeau said Deng is day to day and didn't completely rule out surgery even though the coach doesn't think it will be necessary.

He said Deng is ``still consulting some doctors.' Losing him for an extended period would be a big blow even though the Bulls believe they have the depth to withstand injuries.

``It's tough to see him hurt like that,' Noah said. ``We know that we need Lu to be right.'

Notes: Brooks was a late scratch for New Jersey and will be examined on Tuesday. ... New Jersey's Shawne Williams and Hamilton each got technicals for a scuffle early in the fourth quarter, after Hamilton threw an elbow at Larry Owens. ... Bulls F Taj Gibson hopes to be back by the end of the week after missing his second straight game with a sprained left ankle.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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