NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Even without Derrick Rose, the Chicago Bulls were too much for the New Jersey Nets.
The reigning league MVP played less than 11 minutes in the first half of the Bulls’ easy 108-87 win over the Nets on Monday night.
“I feel all right, just back spasms,” Rose said. “It’s nothing to worry about. Tomorrow we have a day off and I’ll get treatment,” Rose said. “I’ll get a massage and hopefully I can play the next game.”
Carlos Boozer scored 24 points for the Bulls, Luol Deng scored 19 points and C.J. Watson added 14 points and 10 assists in place of Rose.
“I thought C.J. Watson was terrific running the team — playing very good defense — and he did a lot of great things for us,” Thibodeau said.
Chicago is 4-2 six games into a nine-game road trip that is the Bulls’ longest of the season.
“The Bulls are an outstanding team and they just got going on us early,” New Jersey coach Avery Johnson said. “They came out and were really focused. Teams like that have a mindset to come out and throw a knockout punch in the first quarter to set the tone. That’s what they did. You have to give them a lot of credit for that.
“They built a substantial lead and it was hard for us to overcome that.”
Deron Williams scored 25 points for the Nets, who only dressed nine players.
Starting shooting guard Anthony Morrow missed the game due to the death of his grandmother, while Brook Lopez, Damion James, Mehmet Okur, MarShon Brooks and DeShawn Stevenson were out with injuries.
“We don’t have any post presence,” Williams said. “We don’t get that inside-out play. There is not a lot of easy looks out there. Trying to get free to find some shots and get people involved, it really is hectic.”
Morrow is expected to return to the team for Wednesday’s game against the Pistons.
Keith Bogans started in place of Morrow. The Nets signed Bogans last week. The ninth-year veteran played for the Bulls last season and averaged 4.4 points and 1.2 assists while starting in all 82 games.
With the game all but decided when the final quarter began, the announced 15,327 in attendance repeatedly chanted for Bulls power forward Brian Scalabrine, who played the first four years of his career in New Jersey.
He received a loud, sustained ovation when he checked in with 2:06 remaining, and when he made a jumper from the left corner.
NOTES: New Jersey wore its American Basketball Association blue jerseys for the first of the five Hardwood Classics Nights the organization has scheduled for this season. . Chicago guard Richard Hamilton missed his fifth straight game with a thigh injury. He did not make the trip to Newark because of “personal issue’s he’s taking care of,” Thibodeau said.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)