- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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When asked if the Bulls’ bench helps distinguish them as an elite team, the hard-charging Skiles cut right to the chase.
"Nothing against anybody over there or anything else," Skiles said. "But Derrick Rose distinguishes that team. And Luol [Deng] is a very high-level player. Carlos [Boozer]'s a good player, [Joakim Noah's] a good player. But they have a guy that's at the top of the league. At the top of his position. And those other guys would be nice additions to any team, but he is truly a great player."
Skiles, like many others around the league, know that Rose is the straw that stirs the drink in Chicago. As good and as deep as the Bulls are, Rose makes them go. He proved that again on Saturday night, going off for 26 points (15 in the first quarter), 13 assists and seven rebounds as the Bulls cruised to an easy 113-90 win.
As usual, it was Rose who set the tone for the rest of his teammates and it was Rose who used a past failure to fuel him. After all, it was Bucks guard Brandon Jennings who put up 16 first-quarter points against Rose last week. This time, Rose wanted to reverse the field.
"Derrick came out really aggressive," Bulls guard Kyle Korver said. "Derrick remembers things. And I think last time we played Milwaukee, Brandon Jennings really went at him in the first quarter. And Derrick looks for anything. I think he really wanted to attack."
Rose took the ball to the rim almost at will. In the process, he also helped free up his teammates for wide-open looks at the basket. It was the type of performance that his teammates and coaches have grown used to seeing from the reigning NBA MVP.
"That's what I live for," Rose said. "That's the way Chicago players play. They play aggressive. If anything, I love that. It makes me want to play harder. And that's all I tried to do tonight. Just tried to win a game."
Rose didn't just win a game on Saturday night. He broke the Bucks' spirit in the process. He is the reason why his teammates are so confident every time they step on the floor. He makes the entire offense go and there aren't many people around the league who can stop him.
"He did everything," Bulls' head coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He made the game simple. He scored, he made plays, high assists. Made us function great. It was his energy -- the easy baskets that we got in transition and the way he raced the ball up the floor. Obviously, [I'm] very pleased with that."