Carlos Boozer wants to clear up any confusion over just how good Derrick Rose is now after sitting out last season while recovering from a knee injury.

"He's better" Boozer said.

And the Chicago Bulls forward knows why.

"Because I think watching for a year taking care of his body he's stronger now” Boozer said. “On top of that obviously he's a workhorse. He improves every year. His knowledge of the game is better. He feels the game better. If somebody's going he finds them. His passing is so much more precise this year ... on top of all the other stuff that he already had.”

Boozer watched former MVP Rose score 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter of Wednesday night's win over the Oklahoma City Thunder and dominate down the stretch in just his sixth game back in almost a year and a half.

“His skill his skill set got better” Boozer said. “His athleticism is obviously still there. Today he practically played left-handed because he had a sore elbow and he still had an amazing game. Very impressive stuff man."

All this took place on an evening when Rose didn't dominate the game offensively from the beginning -- a first since he began his comeback. He struggled to find a rhythm starting just 3-for-12 from the field.

But when fourth quarter started Rose did what he has always done -- he took over.

With 7:30 left in regulation Rose returned to the floor and filled the role that the Bulls have missed most without him. For the second time in three contests he closed the game and reminded everybody just how special he is in the process.

The Bulls have again witnessed the 25-year-old's ability to hit big shots when his team needs it the most. He finished the game 10-for-10 from the free throw line and 4-for-8 from beyond the 3-point line -- making many of those shots in the waning minutes.

"That's what I love man" Rose said. "I think that I'm one of those type of players where I think I can close a game. If I didn't have my teammates and didn't have the teammates that I have that allow me to do that I would be in trouble. But just having them being around them they know how hard I work. They put the ball in my hands to see what I'm going to do."

Those teammates are all too happy to be able to defer to Rose again. They know how much time he's put into his game over the past 17 months and they know he wants to prove wrong all the people who doubted him for not coming back last season.

The Bulls trust Rose to be the player he has always been.

"I think he's reflective of all the work he's put in" Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. "You can't imagine how much shooting this guy has done. Last year he wasn't playing in the games but he was shooting. He shot every day before practice then he practiced he shot after practice then he would go to the game and shoot some more.

“On our off days he gets to the gym [and] shoots for hours so he's really worked at it. That old saying that the magic is in the work there's a lot of truth to it. And it's not only what he's doing individually before and after practice it's what he's doing in practice. And the example that he's setting and the leadership that he's showing for our team.

“It's a team sport; you need everyone to work and work together."