CHICAGO (AP) — Derrick Rose tried watching the video tribute to him and Joakim Noah during a first-quarter timeout in their return to Chicago on Friday night.
Noah, though, would have none of it.
“I watched some of it, but Jo was telling me to stay focused,” Rose said. “I had to listen to my big brother at that time.”
Stay focused they did.
Perhaps inspired by the emotional homecoming, the New York Knicks shrugged off their early season struggles for a 117-104 victory over the Bulls.
Kristaps Porzingis had 27 points and Carmelo Anthony added 25 to help New York (2-3) snap a two-game losing streak. The night, though, belonged to the former Bulls.
Rose, Chicago’s first-round draft pick in 2008, finished with 15 points and 11 assists (five in the fourth quarter), while Noah, a 2007 first-rounder, had 16 points and nine rebounds. They teamed up to play a familiar two-man game late as New York held off a Chicago rally.
Noah hadn’t scored more than six points in a game this season and was held scoreless in two of the previous four games.
“We’re still trying to find ourselves as a team,” Noah said, “but I’m not going to lie: this win felt really good.”
Dwyane Wade led Chicago (3-2) with 35 points on 12-for-20 shooting and Jimmy Butler added 26 points.
“We didn’t come out with the right mentality,” Wade said.
When asked if the game meant more to Rose and Noah, Wade said: “Anybody could sense that.”
Both Rose and Noah received loud ovations from the United Center crowd during pregame introductions, although there were some boos mixed in for Rose. The Chicago native also was booed every time he touched the ball in the first couple of minutes.
“I love when the crowd is into it,” Rose said. “I knew there was going to be some yells, I knew there were going to be some boos. I’m from here, I’m used to it. I’ve been getting it since I was in sixth grade going to play on the West Side and me being from the South Side.”
New York broke open a close game by scoring 10 straight points to begin the fourth quarter for a 94-81 lead with 9 minutes to play.
The Knicks led by as much as 98-83 before the Bulls rallied within 108-102 with just under 2 minutes to go. But Rose ended any hopes of a comeback with a three-point play on the next possession.
Knicks: F Lance Thomas was inactive because of a sprained left ankle. He is listed as day-to-day. … Noah played just 29 games last season before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery. “Right now, I’m just happy to be on the court,” he said.
Bulls: Doug McDermott, who missed Wednesday’s game at Boston with a concussion, was cleared by the NBA’s concussion protocol earlier Friday. … Wade had five 3-pointers to give him 10 in five games this season. He had a total of seven last season.
On the day the Cubs celebrated their World Series title, Rose said the biggest disappointment during his time in Chicago was not leading the Bulls to a championship.
“Only thing I can do about that is say I gave it my all,” he said. “I really tried. I had multiple times, many times, where I envisioned winning a championship here. It never happened, so I’ve got to take (those) visions and take them to New York.”
Noah said he wasn’t surprised management broke up the Bulls’ core following last season.
“I think it was time for a change,” he said. “I look back on (last season) and I was definitely frustrated. There was definitely a lot of adversity going on there. Now I can look back at it and see where went wrong. It’s not about blaming one person. Everybody in that locker room is good people. It’s just (stuff) happens.
“We didn’t make the playoffs. Everybody was disappointed. It was a team that had high expectations.”
Knicks: Host Utah on Sunday. Coach Jeff Hornacek spent seven seasons with the Jazz as a player.
Bulls: At Indiana on Saturday seven days after shooting 52.3 percent (42.9 on 3-pointers) in a blowout win against the Pacers in Chicago.
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Knicks rally past Bulls in Rose and Noah’s homecoming – USA TODAY