Rose, balanced Bulls crush Spurs

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Chicago, IL ( - The Chicago Bulls sure looked like they were on the same page in Thursday's 104-81 demolition of the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs.

Derrick Rose expressed frustration following Monday's loss to the Cavaliers -- Chicago's sixth over an eight-game span -- and hinted at underlying issues going forward for the Central Division leaders.

The immediate response showed otherwise.

Rose poured in 22 points and handed out five assists, All-Star starter Pau Gasol totaled 12 points and 17 rebounds, and Jimmy Butler scored 17 points in the rout.

Chicago's defense turned it up as well, holding the Spurs to 37 percent shooting after giving up 100-plus points the previous five games.

"Huge, huge win for us. We came out with a great mindset," said Gasol.

Kawhi Leonard paced the Spurs with 16 points but was held scoreless in the second half. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw combined to shoot 4- for-22 from the field.

"I thought the Bulls were physically and mentally committed to playing a great game and I thought our play was humiliating and embarrassing," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

A tight first quarter was highlighted by Ginobili's behind-the-back pass to a cutting Patty Mills for a layup high off the glass.

Danny Green threw down an alley-oop from Tony Parker to open the second- quarter scoring, but Chicago answered with 16 of the next 19 points to take a 37-27 lead. Rose scored seven points during the surge and assisted on three other baskets, and the Bulls never trailed again.

Chicago started the third quarter with a 7-0 run, with Tony Snell's layup pushing to lead to 53-40, and it was still a 13-point game before the Bulls put the game away with a 14-2 flurry.

Taj Gibson, who finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, scored off the offensive glass and banked in a fadeaway on back-to-back possessions, and his free throw gave the Bulls a commanding 73-48 cushion.

The Bulls' largest lead was 25.

Game Notes

Both teams entered play with a 27-16 record ... Chicago will play seven of its next eight games on the road, starting with a trip to Dallas on Friday ... The Spurs host the Lakers on Friday.