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Game 11: Bulls 111, Timberwolves 100

11 Jan 2012

Three Stars
1. Derrick Rose: 31 points (.652 TS%), 3 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 blocks
2. Luol Deng: 21 points (.560 TS%), 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block
3. Ronnie Brewer: 17 points (.650 TS%), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal

At this point, we’re judging the Bulls on style points. They’re on a level now with the Yankees, Patriots and other teams for whom winning isn’t enough. It’s about how you win; how that spins forward into your chances of contending for a championship.

In that light, it was disappointing to see the Bulls relax, as we all did, after they took a 24-point lead midway through the second quarter.

There never was any great sense of danger, not even when Ricky Rubio, J.J. Barea and the Wolves, quick as a blink, got within four at halftime and pulled even late in the third quarter. The Bulls reasserted themselves as Derrick Rose rediscovered fifth gear, adding 14 fourth-quarter points to the 14 he had scored in the opening period.

It could have gone better — and it sure wasn’t good to see Rose aggravate his existing (?!?!) left big toe injury, no matter how he downplayed it — but even when they fall short of their/our highest standards, these Bulls are too smart, skilled and well-coached to not take care of business in the end. There’s a lot to be said for that.

Box Score

Record: 9-2
Next: Wednesday 1/11 vs. Washington, 7:00 CT

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