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Bulls vs. Nets final score: a blowout win in Brooklyn

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

With Derrick Rose back, it's both remarkable yet understandable how having above-average point guard playmaking makes that much of a difference for this team. And the offense, both when he played and when he sat, was pretty spectacular in resounding destruction of the Nets in Brooklyn. The Nets had their playoff lives to play for, but the Bulls have some motivation as well: not only seeding, but getting Rose acclimated with his teammates (and vice versa) and trying to very quickly determine a postseason rotation.

Alas, there isn't a Bulls game with some kind of injury report, as Joakim Noah was a late scratch. But Noah and (also 'missing' the game) Kirk Hinrich are also two of the Bulls worst offensive players, and the remaining Bulls put on a show on that end of the floor. It was actually somewhat of a slow start, as Rose was aggressive pretty much only in transition, and the rest was sort of bogged down in post-up attempts. But Brooklyn didn't take real advantage, and 8 minutes in the game the Bulls took the lead and never looked back.

Things really picked up to end the first quarter as a Niko-Pau frontcourt paired with Dunleavy/Butler/Brooks spread the Nets defense out to death. Niko had a couple three pointers and some quality defense, sharing time with Pau and then Taj in this time.

Rose kicked things up another notch in a 10 point second quarter, hitting a few jumpers (one awful PUJIT three, but hey it went in) and a nice reverse layup around the clodding Brook Lopez. But in building a double-digit lead it showed the little, well, point-guardy things Rose can do. He may not have total Steve Nashian court-vision or anything, but Rose is more than capable of seeing over and through the defense in ways other Bulls PGs can't. Simply running plays, connecting correctly when guys come off of curls, drawing (sometimes soft, lazy) double-teams, and pushing the ball when appropriate is a huge upgrade for this team. Both Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson had huge nights partially helped by Rose's playmaking.

Aaron Brooks was doing some of this stuff as well (7 assists, 1 turnover!), which then had one looking at the Nets defense as something that the Bulls were just going to continuously exploit regardless of the lineup. And indeed, after hovering around a 9-14 point lead for much of the 3rd quarter, the Bulls put them away. They had shot the 3-ball well all night (7/15 in the first half) but Mirotic poured it on with 3 three-pointers to get the lead to 22, with a corner attempt rimming out at the 3rd quarter buzzer.

From then on the Nets never threatened, and the Bulls had 100 points at 6:40 left in the fourth quarter. Mirotic finished with 26 points going 6-11 from three, Pau Gasol hit 5 of his last 6 shots to finish with 22 points on 10-18 shooting (and did a nice job being tall against Lopez, as he and the entire Nets team struggled to finish inside outside of some putbacks),  and the aforementioned Butler and Gibson combined for 32 points on 12-16 shooting.

Thibs interestingly (for him...and really, he could've used the excuse that they need reps) emptied the bench midway through the 4th and thus Derrick Rose didn't have a 4th quarter stint. He didn't have spectacular in his 23 minutes, shooting just 5/13 for 13, and his defense wasn't great (I felt like Deron Williams could get to his spots way too easily, just lacked ability to finish plays well anymore) but he obviously makes a difference. 7 assists, 2 turnovers, and the offense was humming.