The Bulls 118-85 throttling of the Knicks on Tuesday night only reinforced two things we already knew.
The Knicks are really bad.
And Derrick Rose is really, really good.
The All-Star point guard shook off the soreness from his bruised hip and scored 29 points in just 30 minutes of play. A great sign on two fronts for the Bulls, considering he completely dominated play when he was on the floor -- and -- he sat out the entire fourth quarter because the game was out of hand.
"They just overwhelmed us physically," Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni said. "To every ball, to every rebound, to every shot. Every fast break. They clobbered us."
D'Antonio's comments were spot on. His team definitely was not.
That's because Rose broke their will. He was 14-for-18 from the floor and dished out six assists in the process.
"I'm sore a little bit," the 21-year-old guard conceded after the game. "But I just had to play through it and make sure we were all right."
With the news before Tuesday's game that Joakim Noah may be sidelined for another week or two because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, the Bulls were in need of a spark to start off the second half of their season.
A spark that Rose provided.
The best news for Del Negro is that he overcame the pain he was feeling to do it. That's the type of consistency and determination that separates the good players from the great ones.
"He's improved a lot," Knicks All-Star David Lee said after the game. When he's hitting that jump shot, he's especially difficult to handle because he's so strong. When he starts going to the basket, he's so good at finishing. He's one of the best finishers, as far as guards are concerned, in the league.
"He's got a floater. He can finish with both hands around the bucket. Layups. He can get up and dunk the ball. So when he gets in the lane, he's tough. Your only choice is to back off of him, and when he's hitting that jumper it's very difficult to guard him."
The best news for Vinny Del Negro and company is that Rose doesn't seem to be worried that his hip bruise will linger on for the next few weeks.
"I'm not concerned at all," he said. "It's just like a thigh bruise or anything else. A bruise is going to heal each day, so it's nothing that I should worry about. [Wednesday] it should feel even better than [Tuesday]."
After the up and down season Del Negro has endured, even he couldn't help but joke when it came to Rose's status.
"Derrick's a tough kid," he said. "He wants to be out there. He played very well for us [Tuesday] night, shot it great. Like I told him, I hope his hip continues to hurt if he shoots it that way."
Back-to-back: In a schedule oddity, the Bulls will face off against the Knicks again on Wednesday night in New York City. The Bulls players all believe that the Knicks will come out a little stronger than they did in Chicago.
"It's going to get tougher," Rose said of facing the Knicks again. "I don't know what they're going to do on their coverage or whatever, but it's definitely going to get tougher against that team tomorrow. We gotta just go in and fight even harder [Wednesday] so that we can control them, because we need that win."
Veteran center Brad Miller echoed his younger teammate's comments.
"I've been down this road a few times before," he said of playing back-to-backs. "A lot of times it's even tougher after a big win against the same team the night before. They'll definitely want to redeem themselves."