Not only was Rose returning to the floor for the first time in more than a week after spraining his left ankle, he also was playing for the first time in Portland since tearing the medial meniscus in his right knee, almost two years to the day that the career-altering injury occurred.
"I'm just happy I got off the court," Rose said with a smile.
Rose finished the game with 17 points (7-for-20 from the field), six assists and four rebounds in almost 35 minutes.
"I think I played an all right game," he said. "We won the game, so that's the only thing that matters. But as far as the team, I felt like when we go up 10, we went up 10 numerous times, go up that amount of points, we got to learn to close teams out."
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg and his players seemed more impressed by Rose's defense on Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.
Lillard was just 4-for-22 from the field, as Rose did a good job contesting many of Lillard's shots when the two were paired up.
"I thought he was good," Hoiberg said of Rose. "We tried to get him a little rest when we could. He was expending a lot of energy out there. I thought he did a terrific job defensively. Damian Lillard's one of the toughest guards in this league, and you have to stay attached to him at all times. I thought Derrick had great awareness on that end of the floor and I thought made some big plays for us on the offensive end as well."
Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler knows this group is much better with Rose on the floor.
"He facilitated well," Butler said of Rose. "Took all the right shots that he's supposed to take. He had a tough task in guarding [Lillard] but he did that to the best of his ability. It's a different game when he's out there because he makes a lot of things look easy. He makes it easier for everybody else."
Rose said after the game that his ankle was feeling "good" but he was going to continue to get treatment on it in the coming days. The Bulls are scheduled to have an off day Wednesday and practice again on Thanksgiving.
"It was some plays where I didn't have no lift on my shot as far as like driving the ball," Rose said. "But that's going to come the more I play and the stronger it gets."
The win over the Blazers marks the first time the Bulls have won in Portland since February 3, 2007.