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Rose, Del Negro win in debut with Bulls

Oct 29, 2008 - 4:35 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- The Vinny Del Negro era got off to a winning start Tuesday, and No. 1 overall pick Derrick Rose played a big part.

Rose had 11 points and nine assists and Del Negro won his debut with the Chicago Bulls, 108-95, over the Milwaukee Bucks on the NBA's Opening Night.

Luol Deng led six players in double figures with 21 points and Tyrus Thomas added 15 and 10 rebounds for Chicago, which shot 51 percent (35-of-69) from the field and knocked down 33-of-44 free-throw attempts.

"I was worried about getting a victory," Rose said. "The most important thing is that the first win is out of the way. Now, we can worry about playing the Celtics on Friday."

The win for the Bulls came over Del Negro's predecessor, Scott Skiles, who was fired 25 games into last season before being replaced on an interim basis by Jim Boylan.

Skiles made his debut at the helm in Milwaukee, a franchise that has not recorded a winning season since 2002-03.

Fellow newcomer Richard Jefferson struggled in his first game with the Bucks, scoring 15 points on just 5-of-17 from the field, while Michael Redd opened his ninth season in Milwaukee with 30 points.

Jefferson came over from New Jersey this offseason in a trade for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons.

After leading Memphis to the national championship game in his freshman season, Rose was selected with the first pick by Chicago to lead the offense for Del Negro, who was brought in from Phoenix, where he held a front-office position.

"I was very pleased with our ball movement," Del Negro said. "We concentrate a lot on that in practice. Good passing leads to finding the open man, that is the key to good basketball."

The high-paced attack paid dividends in the first half as Deng scored 15 points and Rose dished out five assists to help the Bulls take a three-point edge, 55-52, into halftime.

"He looked a little shaky at the start of the game," Redd said of Rose. "Then he seemed to shake it off. He will be a very good player in this league, he has an enormous amount of talent. He is already good."

A jumper by Redd gave Milwaukee a 73-72 lead late in the third quarter, but Deng scored on consecutive possessions and Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich each knocked down 3-pointers to stake Chicago to a 82-75 lead after three quarters.

"We played them pretty even until the end of the third quarter," Redd said. "At that point, they broke down our defense and started hitting shots. Give them the credit - they took the game away from us."

Leading by eight three minutes into the final quarter, the Bulls used a 10-3 run to open up a 15-point lead midway through the period and lock up a win for Del Negro.

Gordon scored 18 points and Hinrich totaled 15 and seven assists off the bench for the Bulls, who held a 40-32 advantage on the boards and recorded assists on 27 of their 35 field goals.

"Turnovers were the thing that really hurt us tonight, but they also killed us on the glass and at the free-throw line," Skiles said. "The game got away in the third quarter, they started hitting shots and using their fast break."

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