- Tip Off: 7:30 PM PT
- Television: CSN-BA
Chicago Bulls Team Profile
- Offensive Efficiency: 99.4 (25th in NBA)
- Defensive Efficiency: 99.4 (5th in NBA)
- Points: Luol Deng, 16.1 PPG
- Rebounds: Joakim Noah, 11.5 RPG
- Assists: Kirk Hinrich, 5.4 APG
- Steals: Joakim Noah, 1.3 BPG
- Blocks: Joakim Noah, 2.2 BPG
- Field Goal Percentage: Taj Gibson, 48.9% FG
- 3-Point Field Goal Percentage: Kirk Hinrich, 39.8% 3PT FG
Scope the Opposition: Bulls by the Horns.
Preview: With the Chicago Bulls (35-29) set on facing the Golden State Warriors (37-29), Tom Thibodeau has stated that superstar Derrick Rose is unlikely to make his debut at Oracle Arena tonight.
And that’s a shame.
Other than the Los Angeles Lakers’ playoff aspirations and the Miami Heat’s winning streak, Rose’s eventual return is quite possibly the biggest story in the NBA. When projecting the Bulls’ current ceiling, the furthest they could potentially go in the postseason is the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
And keep in mind, they would have to face a truly inferior opponent in the opening round for such a feat to become reality.
Add the former Memphis Tiger to the mix, and Chicago is afforded the possibility of recalibrating their goals. Even if the former league MVP is at 80 percent, he drastically improves the Bulls.
His playmaking and scoring remove some of the burden from the likes of Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer. More importantly it means that Thibodeau isn’t relying on Nate Robinson to run his offense.
The former dunk champ is averaging 29.5 minutes per game in March with Kirk Hinrich missing time (he is out tonight). Robinson’s questionable shot selection make him somewhat of a liability at the point guard spot, but he’s the best the Bulls have currently.
Rose’s return would completely alter the team’s dynamics. Their top-10 defense typically keeps them in games, thus Chicago’s favorite son would manufacture ways to pull some of those games out.
It’s worth noting that the Bulls have faired well on this front this season, but there is still room to grow, and the former top overall pick would be a huge part of that equation.
As wonderful as Rose’s return would be tonight, the Bulls do not have the luxury of romanticizing what could happen with him back in the fold.
Instead, they must deal with their reality without him.
Noah and company have lost four-of-five contests coming into tonight. Those losses all came on the road with their lone victory coming at home.
Also, two of their defeats were drubbings by a combined 60 points.
Tonight’s contest will be the last stop on their three-game California road trip and they most certainly hope to end it with a victory.
The Warriors have other ideas in store.
Golden State has won four-of-six and is poised to stretch their current win streak to three games with a victory over Chicago.
They have flexed their muscles in the past two games against Eastern Conference opponents and will require the same type of effort tonight against a tough as nails Bulls team.
Thibodeau’s unit is still one of the best defensive squads in the league and will force Mark Jackson’s guys to earn just about every point.
Both teams have very good frontcourts and might cancel each other out head-to-head.
Consequently, look for the performance of the backcourts to possibly decide the outcome.
Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at [email protected].