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Sunday, March 20, 2011
Bulls have score to settle with Kings

By Nick Friedell

Joakim Noah
In addition to the sting of a collapse against Sacramento last season, Joakim Noah also tore a ligament in his thumb on Nov. 27.
DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Derrick Rose hasn't forgotten the misery he felt on Dec. 21, 2009. After all, it's not every day that you and your teammates blow a 35-point lead.

Unbelievably, that's exactly what Rose and the Chicago Bulls did against the Sacramento Kings that night -- and he still seems to get sick to his stomach while re-living the memory.

"I remember that game, for sure," Rose said after Sunday's practice. "The celebration that they were doing after they won, I remember."

Rose still can't believe his team gave away the game and that will surely be on his mind when his Bulls take on the Kings Monday night.

"It's a heartbreaker," he said. "But you learn from it. If we're up 30, we're going to try to push it to 40, 50 points."

How did it even happen in the first place?

"I really don't know," he said. "They were playing hard. We had to relax. They just kept fighting, knocking down threes and getting easy baskets. And you look up, it's a tie game. They've got the momentum, and when teams in the league get the momentum, it's going to go their way."

Bulls center Joakim Noah remembers the game as well. He also remembers that it was a Nov. 27 game against the Kings earlier this season in which he tore his thumb ligament.

"When you were up 35 and then you lose, that sucks," he said. "And then when you tear your ligament in a game, that sucks, too."

The last word: Noah, on if his experiences winning two NCAA titles at Florida help him in preparation for the NBA playoffs:

"Every year is different. Every game is different. You've just got to come with the hungry mindset every day. You've got to enjoy the process. Enjoy playing in the big games. We're going to be under a lot of pressure, and coach said it today, If we're prepared, there's nothing better than playing in those big moments."