Teammates carry load as Rose returns to Bulls

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Teammates carry load as Rose returns to Bulls

Derrick Rose spent way too much time sitting and watching the past two seasons.

Yet he wasn’t bummed at all about playing just seven minutes of the second half in his long-awaited return.

“It was real fun being on the bench,’’ he said, “being able to laugh, talk basketball to your teammates whenever they come back to the sideline.’’

Pau Gasol had 21 points and 11 rebounds in his Chicago debut, Rose scored 13 points and the Bulls spoiled Derek Fisher’s first game as an NBA coach by beating the New York Knicks 104-80 on Wednesday night local time.

Reserve Taj Gibson finished with 22 points to lead the Bulls. Rose, a former MVP, took only seven shots and had five assists in 21 minutes in a game Chicago led by as much as 35.

“I think it’s a lot of pressure off his shoulders because we have, I think, a variety of weapons, so he doesn’t have to put that pressure on himself to score and force things,’’ said Gasol.

Carmelo Anthony had 14 points for the Knicks, who won’t have it any easier in the second game. They visit the Cavaliers, the other Eastern Conference favorite, on Thursday in the first game since LeBron James returned to Cleveland.

“Embarrassed? No, I am not embarrassed,’’ said Anthony. “We will get better. I believe that. I know that and we have another shot at it tomorrow night.’’

The Knicks, running the triangle offense that Fisher played in under Knicks President Phil Jackson, shot 36.5 percent. They were missing starting point guard Jose Calderon, who was a late scratch because of a strained right calf. Shane Larkin made his first career start.

“We’re going somewhere, but at the beginning of where we’re going it’s going to be difficult to get wins,’’ Fisher said. “We have to fight really, really hard to win games.’’AP

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