Ninety minutes before the tip-off, Derrick Rose was flexing his wrist in the locker room. He then flexed his All-Star form in a game the Chicago Bulls desperately needed to win.
Rose scored 23 points in his return from a sprained left wrist, and Chicago snapped its losing streak at 10 games with a 98-84 victory over the 76ers last night in Philadelphia.
“I’ve been working out and doing a lot of running, but it was just great to be back with the team,’’ said Rose, who missed the Bulls’ previous four games.
Kirk Hinrich added 17 points and 11 assists, Brad Miller had 16 points, and Hakim Warrick 13 for Chicago, 2 1/2 games behind Toronto for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Rose sparked the Bulls with a 9-for-16 shooting performance, including 4 for 6 on 3-pointers.
“I got a lot of open shots,’’ Rose said. “It seemed like they were giving me the shots. I was open. I had to take them.’’
Marreese Speights had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Philadelphia. The 76ers have lost 12 of their last 14 games and are 11-23 at home.
Raptors 100, Nets 90 — Chris Bosh scored 23 of his 36 points in the second half and slumping Toronto kept host New Jersey on the road to an NBA single-season record for losses.
Jarrett Jack added 15 points, and Hedo Turkoglu had 13 as the Raptors won for only the third time in 13 games and sent New Jersey (7-62) to its seventh straight loss.
With 13 games left, the Nets (7-62) are in danger of breaking the NBA mark for single-season futility, set by Philadelphia (9-73) in 1972-73. Devin Harris, returning after missing two games because of a respiratory infection, had 22 points for the Nets. Bosh, playing in his 500th game as a Raptor, was the difference in this game. He was 16 of 27 from the field.
Heat 77, Bobcats 71 — Quentin Richardson scored all 18 of his points on 3-pointers as host Miami beat Charlotte to pass the Bobcats for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
Dwyane Wade had just 14 points, but made up for it with nine assists and five blocks to help Miami move a half-game ahead of Charlotte. Stephen Jackson had 18 points for Charlotte.
Grizzlies 123, Warriors 107 — Rudy Gay scored 25 points, O. J. Mayo added 21, and host Memphis sent Golden State to its 13th consecutive road loss.
Zach Randolph finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Grizzlies. Monta Ellis led the Warriors with 28 points.
Jazz 106, Hornets 86 — Paul Millsap had 22 points and 15 rebounds, and Deron Williams added 17 points and 11 assists to help host Utah beat New Orleans.
C.J. Miles scored 19 points for the Jazz, who were without two injured starters and missed Carlos Boozer for much of the game because of foul trouble.
Bucks 102, Nuggets 97 — Even with Andrew Bogut ineffective and in foul trouble, visiting Milwaukee had enough to defeat Denver.
Carlos Delfino had 26 points, and John Salmons added 21 to make up for Bogut’s off night. Bogut was limited to 2 points and three rebounds in 15 minutes.