Bulls continue lengthy road trip vs. Nets
The Chicago Bulls are in the midst of a nine-game road trip and will continue the lengthy trek tonight against the New Jersey Nets.
Chicago improved to 3-2 thus far on the road swing following Saturday's 113-90 victory at Milwaukee behind Derrick Rose's 26 points and 13 assists. Rose scored 16 of his team's first 18 points and is averaging 29.8 points over his last six contests. He has also scored 30 or more points four times in that span for the Central Division-leading Bulls, who improved to 11-5 as the guest and won for the 13th time in its last 17 tries. Chicago leads the NBA in road wins with 11 and sports the East's best overall record at 20-6.
"I was just taking what they were giving me," Rose said of the quick start. "They were giving me my shot, I was taking it and thank god tonight they were going in."
Luol Deng returned from a seven-game absence due to a wrist injury to post 21 points and nine rebounds. Kyle Korver and Joakim Noah finished with 18 and 14 points, respectively, in the win. The Bulls shot 53.3 percent for the game and are 10-0 this season when reaching the century mark in scoring. Fourteen of Chicago's 20 wins this season have been by 10-plus points.
The Bulls' nine-game road trip is the longest since the 1992-93 season, when they went 6-3 on a nine-game trek. In 1974-75, Chicago played a team-record 11 straight games away from home (7-4). It will also make stops in New Orleans, Charlotte and Boston.
Chicago's 20-6 start to the season is the fourth-best in franchise history after 26 games. Chicago opened 23-2 in 1995-96, 22-3 in 1996-97 and 21-4 in 1991-92.
New Jersey lost at New York on Saturday, dropping a 99-92 decision even though Deron Williams did all he could with 21 points and 11 assists. Kris Humphries added 20 points and 12 rebounds and Jordan Farmar scored 19 off the bench for the Nets, losers in two straight and four of five games. New Jersey had a 12- point lead late in the first quarter before collapsing.
Nets coach Avery Johnson put a boxing spin on the outcome afterwards.
"They swung last," he said of the Knicks, "and kind of knocked us out."
Johnson has used 12 different starting lineups in the first 25 games this season. The Nets are tied with Toronto for last in the Atlantic Division and will play two in a row and four of the next five games at home. They own a 3-7 record in Newark, NJ this season and are just 6-12 versus the East.
Williams is averaging 26.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 10.3 assists in New Jersey's eight wins this season, while Humphries posted his 10th double-double of the season. He is averaging a double-double with 13.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
New Jersey lost the first meeting with Chicago by a 110-95 score on Jan. 23 at the United Center. Rose had missed the previous four games with a toe sprain and recorded 22 points and eight assists. Rose, who is probable for Monday with a sore back, is averaging 18.7 points and 6.3 assists in 12 career games against the Nets.
The Bulls have won three in a row over the Nets, but are just 2-16 in their past 18 trips to the Garden State.