Rose scored 36 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter to lead a comeback as Chicago beat the New York Knicks 113-109 Wednesday night.
He admitted that he wasn't overjoyed about being sent from Indiana to a last-place team Tuesday in a seven-player trade. But he was in a better frame of mind after a winning debut.
"I have to send Indiana a thank-you card," Rose said. "It's a blessing to be in a city that believes in you and is starved for a championship."
Rose, who came to Chicago with Travis Best, was 13-of-24 from the field and 10-of-11 from the line. He led a depleted Bulls team which had only eight players available in the second half.
"People who said that this trade wasn't going to work because Jalen was going to come over here and pout, they're wrong. He's too much of a competitor for that," said the Bulls' Fred Hoiberg, who scored 12 points. "This game shows something about his character."
Best also played well, scoring 12 points in reserve and making a key steal and rebound late to seal the victory.
Rose and Best have yet to practice with their new club, and hadn't even gone over the offense in great detail with coach Bill Cartwright.
"Bill did a great job of giving us the skeleton of the plays so we wouldn't be totally lost out there," said Rose, in his eighth NBA season. "I felt my teammates feeding off me, so I fed off their positivity."
Mark Jackson had a triple-double for New York, which blew a pair of double-digit leads.
"Jalen Rose was definitely the difference, and we went flat to a degree," Knicks coach Don Chaney said. "Every loss is unacceptable, and we should've had this one."
Chicago trailed 89-77 early in the fourth, but clawed its way back.
The Bulls closed to within 99-94 with about four minutes left when Rose made a block on Shandon Anderson, triggering a fast break. Hoiberg missed the layup, but was fouled intentionally by Anderson, giving the Bulls two free throws and possession.
Hoiberg made the foul shots, and Best made a spinning layup to close the gap to 99-98.
Hoiberg then hit a 3, and Rose made a turnaround jumper to give Chicago a 110-106 lead.
Houston made a 3 to bring the Knicks within a point, but Best made a steal and got a rebound. Rose's free throw with 15 seconds left gave Chicago its final margin.
Houston scored 16 first-quarter points for New York, which opened a 34-21 lead.
Rose made a layup, and Greg Anthony hit a 3 as the Bulls started the second quarter with a 15-4 run that made it 38-36.
The Knicks rebuilt a double-digit lead and led 51-43 at
halftime. Houston had 21 points and Kurt Thomas had 12 at the break
for the Knicks.
In the third quarter, Chicago rookie Tyson Chandler blocked a shot but caught part of the backboard with his left hand. He came out of the game with a jammed thumb.
Greg Anthony, who came off the injured list before the game, also injured his left hand, leaving the Bulls with only seven available players until Chandler returned early in the fourth.
Houston and Sprewell made 3s, and Jackson hit a layup at the
third-quarter buzzer for an 83-75 Knicks lead.
Jackson finished with 15 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds.
Anthony was activated from the injured list after missing
14 games. Guard Norman Richardson, also acquired from Indiana, was
placed on the injured list with a left ankle sprain. ... Chicago
forward Marcus Fizer was out with the flu. Eddie Robinson and
Charles Oakley also missed the game. ... It was the third straight
game the Bulls played short-handed. ... The Bulls' Eddy Curry
scored 16 points, and Chandler had 13 points and 14 rebounds. ...
Jackson's was the Knicks' first triple-double since Chris Childs in 1996-97.