CHICAGO -- Bulls point guard Derrick Rose scored 16 points and recorded six assists in a 117-106 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, as he made his return to the floor after missing three straight games because of right hamstring and right knee soreness.
"I felt good," Rose said. "I felt good ... I was able to work out the last couple, three days. They cut my time on the court, so I wasn't able to go through my whole routine, but that just never got out, so I wasn't ever worried about it. It was just coming in and getting my feet wet again and trying not to mess up the run."
The Bulls are playing their best basketball of the season and have now won five straight games. Rose, who on Monday had an MRI on his sore right knee, which showed no structural damage, acknowledged that there was a little more pressure than usual in his return, given the way his team has been playing lately.
"There's a lot of pressure just coming in and the team is like 4-0 without you, so coming in as a point guard, you're just trying to feel the game," Rose said. "Jimmy [Butler] had it hot. I was going to him in the beginning. He got us the lead. We got a great start in the beginning. He's ballin' right now, so keep going to him until he doesn't want the ball anymore."
Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg seemed pleased with the way Rose played.
"I thought Derrick was good," Hoiberg said. "A little rusty out of the gate, but once he started attacking the basket, I really liked the way he was out there playing ... at times, he can be a one-man fast break, and the big thing is he needs to continue to attack and get himself to get to the basket."
The difference in Rose's performance recently is he has been getting to the rim and attacking more than at any other point this season. Before his latest setback, he was averaging 21.3 points over his past three games and had been making more of a concerted effort to push the pace and get to the basket. His teammates and coaches have noticed the difference.
"I think he played really well," Bulls big man Pau Gasol said. "Really attacking the lane, making plays. So it was a positive, obviously a great plus, to have him out there and playing at a high level and contributing and measuring the game up and getting people shots and looks. Obviously, he got me a lot of great looks."
Rose remains confident that his best moments are ahead of him, despite an uneven start to the season, in which he struggled to find consistency after fracturing his left orbital bone during the first practice of training camp.
"It just takes me playing. I know that it's there," he said of his ability to get to the basket again. "It just takes me actually going out there and playing, like I said before the injury, consistent games. I can't be frustrated or I can't be mad because of life. Something was bothering me. It was reality that I had to sit out a little bit because I was overworking myself. But I would rather have that problem than anything else."