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Game 19: Bulls 110, Nets 95

24 Jan 2012

Three Stars
1. Rip Hamilton: 22 points (.688 TS%), 4 rebounds, 10 assists
2. Derrick Rose: 22 points (.652 TS%), 5 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal
3. Joakim Noah: 16 points (.722 TS%), 10 rebounds, 4 assists

Despite what you hear, he isn’t “the missing piece” to the Bulls’ championship puzzle — far more important is Luol Deng’s leap to all-star level and the quest for consistent production from Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah — but Rip Hamilton undoubtedly makes this a better team.

With Deng taking Rose’s spot on the bench, courtesy of a worrisome wrist sprain, Hamilton picked a great time for his best game in a Chicago uniform. It wasn’t the 22 points, efficient and sorely needed though they were, as much as the 10 assists. Rose called him “a better passer than I am.”

Hamilton wasn’t the only one; the Bulls had a season-high 33 assists on 43 baskets. For all their occasional struggles at the offensive end, they have the passers, all over the court, to play some beautiful basket when it all comes together.

Box Score

Record: 16-3, first in the Eastern Conference
Next: 1/25 vs. Pacers, 7:00 CT

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