Chicago Bulls prove to LeBron they will be tough competition

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Carmelo Anthony said he returned to the New York Knicks because of “comfort.”

But he couldn't have been too comfortable looking at what could have been as his Knicks were dismantled by the Chicago Bulls at home on Wednesday night.

Anthony, of course, had a shot at signing with the Bulls in the offseason and turned them down. The Bulls then went out and signed Pau Gasol, got big man Nikola Mirotic to finally head to the U.S. from Europe and made a ton of draft day deals to bring in Doug McDermott.

Together, they looked really, really good while dominating the Knicks in a 104-80 win.

Where was Derrick Rose?

The best thing for Derrick Rose is that we aren't really even concentrating on him after the win. This wasn't about Rose, who scored 13 points in his return.

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This was about the Bulls being a really good team.

Taj Gibson was all over the highlights, going 10 of 12 shooting for 22 points off the bench in the win. Some of those shots came from Rose, some of them didn't.

But the game simply underlined how deep the Bulls were as the game got out of hand and they were able to rest Rose and Joakim Noah as guys like McDermott, Aaron Gibson, Mirotic and Kirk Hinrich got minutes.

How good can they be?

It's one game, and the biggest question the Bulls are facing is Rose's long-term health. Those are a given.

But the Bulls are as good as any team in the NBA, and they know it. They're also led by one of the NBA's best coaches in Tom Thibodeau.

And, while all of the hype lies in Cleveland, with LeBron, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, there is plenty of talent in Chicago too.

"Who knows how good we can be?” Rose said. "We've got a long way to go, so every day take advantage of it. ... I think we have a good team ... we can't get too big-headed. It's only the first game ... but when things run smooth the way they did tonight, you've got to look at our entire team, how deep we are."

Friday's matchup

Good thing we don't have to wait long to see the top two teams in the Eastern Conference face off.

At 7 p.m. Friday in Chicago, the Bulls will face the Cavaliers and we'll get to see what all of those matchups will look like.

Irving played ahead of Rose and looked way better than a recovering Rose this summer for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup. It's certain they practiced plenty against each other. Now, they'll face each other head-to-head.

After that, Chicago will have a run of some of the league's worst teams to ensure their record is looking good. They face Minnesota, Orlando, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit and Toronto before hosting the Pacers and Clippers. If they don't win at least five of those seven post-Cavs games, it will be a major disappointment for the team.

In reality, they should win all of them.

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Derrick Rose
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