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News » Rose bouncing back

Rose bouncing back

Rose bouncing backDerrick Rose is getting better. The injured right ankle that has slowed him since the preseason is on the mend.

Monday in Portland, Rose opened the second half by elevating over Greg Oden for his first dunk of the season.

''I really couldn't believe it when I was up in the air,'' said Rose, who said it felt great. ''It's getting there. I'm getting a little bit explosive, so you'll probably see more dunks in some other games.''

On Thursday, Rose returned to the floor for a scheduled battle with former Illinois star Deron Williams.

''He's one of the guys I look up to,'' Rose said. ''I'm happy I have the opportunity of playing against him.''

The feeling is mutual, though the point guards have yet to meet when both players are completely healthy.

''It's fun to play against Derrick,'' Williams said. ''He's one of the top point guards in this league, a young guy who's making a name for himself.''

Rose entered the game averaging 15.1 points and 5.3 assists. Williams, a fifth-year pro, was scoring 19 points per game and handing out 9.8 assists.

''Rose is a wonderful young player and so is Deron,'' Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. ''That's the future of Basketball.''

Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro, however, downplayed the headline matchup.

''It's not one-on-one; it's a team game,'' he said while noting that Williams is a fantastic player who does a nice job running the Jazz's offense. ''A lot of things go into it.''

And Del Negro said the Bulls need the 2008-09 NBA Rookie of the Year to push the tempo more and get after it defensively.

Rose's rising energy, he hopes, will spark improvement in a lot of areas on the team.

After consecutive losses to the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers, Del Negro is concerned about the Bulls' defense and rebounding. There are also offensive deficiencies.

Rose, however, is making strides with the latter.

In a loss to the Nuggets on Saturday, he scored a season-high 28 points. Over the last three games -- all on the road -- he's averaging 20.7 points, 4.7 assists and 3.3 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field (27-for-54).

''Derrick's getting better,'' Del Negro said. ''I think this trip has been good for him in the sense that he's getting more aggressive, attacking the basket more and pushing the tempo.

''I think he's getting a little more confidence in his ankle. You see the extra burst that he has is coming back a little bit. So that's been positive.''

NOTES: Guard Kirk Hinrich was deactivated before Thursday's game because of a left thumb sprain. He'll be evaluated again today in Chicago and will see a hand specialist to determine the severity of the injury.

- Center Aaron Gray, who has been sidelined with a left fibula stress fracture, dressed in Hinrich's place against Utah.

Sports editor's note: The Bulls -Jazz game ended too late for this edition. For late results, go to


Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said there's no secret to center Joakim Noah's success as a rebounder. Noah, he explained, simply goes after the ball. ''It's that simple,'' Noah said. ''That's my role on the team, just try to get extra possessions. Rebounding is really my job. So that's why I'm out there.'' Noah entered Thursday's game at Utah tied for the league lead with 11.9 rebounds per game. ''He's active. He's got great energy. He's long. It's one of his strengths, no question. He's been playing very well for us,'' Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. ''We need him to continue to go get those rebounds for us, so we can get out in the open court.'' Noah is determined to do his part. ''I think that you've got to have a belief in yourself that every time the ball goes up on the rim, you're going to have to give second and third efforts,'' he said. The extra hustle, Noah insists, is team-driven. He isn't concerned about winning the NBA rebounding title. ''It's not really what I'm striving for,'' the second-year pro said. ''We're just trying to win some Basketball games.'' ... After losing at Portland on Monday, the Bulls opted to spend the next two days in Oregon. They worked out at Nike headquarters Wednesday morning before flying to Salt Lake City, where Thanksgiving was celebrated at a steakhouse near EnergySolutions Arena. Del Negro said the plans ''just made sense with our scheduling.'' The road- weary Bulls were scheduled to fly home right after the game. They don't play again until Monday at Milwaukee. ... This was the first time Utah has hosted a game on Thanksgiving, drawing a national TV audience on TNT. ''It's great for us,'' Jazz forward Carlos Boozer said. ''We don't get a lot of attention out here. So it's fun to get some.'' Del Negro noted that his team also was excited to be in the spotlight. Dirk Facer

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Added: November 28, 2009


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