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Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose returned to action on Monday night after missing four of the previous five games with sprained ankles.
The 26-year-old did not speak to reporters after the 102-91 win over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night, but his play told them everything they needed to know as the former MVP put up 24 points and dished out seven assists in 32 minutes.
While Rose was unavailable for comment, coach Tom Thibodeau praised his point guard and was particularly impressed with the way he finished the game.
“The first half I thought he was great,” Thibodeau said.
“It set the tone for us. And then certainly the way he finished was great. A little winded; that’s to be expected.”
Center Joakim Noah echoed those sentiments but emphasised the boost that Rose’s presence on the floor provides the rest of the players. With the explosive point guard on the court, Noah believes that not only does he make it easier to win games, but it also opens up better opportunities for everyone else.
Pau Gasol labelled Rose a “difference maker”, and Monday was the first time this season that the Bulls were able to start their preferred starting five of Rose, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Gasol and Noah.
Bulls fans will have been relieved to see their star back on the court, and it was noticeable that he drove to the basket with more force than he has at any other point this season which allowed him to create shots for himself and his team-mates with Thibodeau pleased with his first full game back.