The Chicago Bulls haven't looked much like the regular-season juggernaut they once were so far in Derrick Rose's first two games back, but the former MVP has little doubt his team is about to start clicking.
To the surprise of almost everyone, the Philadelphia 76ers already are.
Rose and the Bulls look for a more complete effort Saturday night in Philadelphia, where the 76ers look to continue their stunning start with a third straight victory.
Rose hit a baseline floater with 5.7 seconds left Thursday to provide the final points in Chicago's 82-81 victory over the Knicks, but there were still plenty of concerns for the team that finished with the NBA's best record in each of the last two seasons Rose was healthy.
The Bulls (1-1) led by 10 at the beginning of the fourth quarter before scoring just 11 points in the final 12 minutes. Their only two field goals came from Rose, who shot 7 of 23 from the floor and finished with more turnovers (four) than assists (three) for the second straight game.
"(Rose) showed a lot of toughness," coach Tom Thibodeau told the Bulls' official website. "He kept working the game when things weren't going his way. Right now we have to count on our defense and rebounding to get us through this."
Rose, who's shooting 28.9 percent (11 of 38) thus far, feels like it's only a matter of time before Chicago's offense begins to come around - starting with his own.
"It's going to be scary when all those shots are falling," Rose said. "I can't think about it. I've got to have quick amnesia. The shots (for the team) are not falling right now. When they do fall, I think we are going to be a dangerous team."
The 76ers (2-0) aren't having any issues getting shots to go down. Seemingly in full rebuilding mode and picked by many to be the league's worst team, Philadelphia shocked Miami 114-110 in its opener Wednesday before rallying from 12 down midway through the third quarter Friday to win 109-102 at Washington.
''It's only two,'' first-year coach Brett Brown said, ''but we sure are happy.''
Rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams followed his 22-point, 12-assist, nine-steal debut by scoring 12 of his 14 after halftime Friday, but it's been the 76ers' front line that has made the biggest impact thus far. Philadelphia outscored the Heat 50-36 in the paint and held a 40-30 rebounding edge, then put up 74 points in the lane against the Wizards.
Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes combined for 60 points against Miami and 68 in Washington.
''We have a lot of confidence in each other,'' Carter-Williams said. ''And not by any means are we going to go out there and play like we don't want to win. There's a bunch of winners on this team.''
Turner, Young and Hawes figure to have their hands full inside Saturday. The Bulls have outscored their first two opponents 96-58 in the paint.
Philadelphia has had trouble scoring anywhere against Chicago since Rose tore his ACL in Game 1 of the teams' 2012 first-round playoff series. The Bulls have won five straight in the series, holding the 76ers to an average of 86.0 points and 41.7 percent shooting - 21.3 percent from 3-point range.
Joakim Noah has just eight points this season, but he's been the key to the Rose-less Bulls' success against Philadelphia. He's averaged 16.0 points, 14.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks during Chicago's winning streak in the series, including a 23-point, 21-board, 11-block triple-double in a 93-82 home win Feb. 28.
Philadelphia last started 3-0 in 2006-07.
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