Chicago Bulls @ Los Angeles Lakers, 9:30 PM TNT

The Los Angeles Lakers have been without starting power forward Pau Gasol since the start of the season. The 7-foot All-Star will return tonight, as the Bulls visit the Staples Center for the first time this year.

Chicago won on Tuesday against Sacramento, bringing them to 6-4 on the year. While the odds are favouring the defending champions, the Bulls have established a strong defense for this year. Center Joakim Noah, forward Luol Deng and guard Kirk Hinrich have anchored the Chicago defense this season, leading them to wins against San Antonio Spurs and on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Former MVP Kobe Bryant will be the point of emphasis tonight. The Bulls defense are going up against a scoring average of 31.0 points a game, coming on everything from drives, free throws and long range shots (the 20.8% accuracy from three-point land is a career-low and out of the norm for Bryant). Bryant, one of the most versatile offensive players in the history of the game, will face John Salmons who has his work cut out for him.

Salmons has struggled earlier in the season against shooting guards Manu Ginobili, Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade. For the Bulls to succeed, the perimeter defense will have to step out and deliver a strong game. For Salmons to be succesful against Bryant, it would help to offer some assistance offensively. Salmons had 23 points on Tuesday at Sacramento.

Offensively, the Bulls are not going to get easy shots inside. Lakers center Andrew Bynum is living up to his enormous, and establising himself in the paint on both ends of the floor. Bynum is averaging 20.3 points and 11.8 rebounds on the year, and will be the biggest opponent Joakim Noah has gone up against this season. Noah, the leagues leading rebounder at 12.4 a game, is giving up close to 40 pounds on Bynum, and will also have to face Pau Gasol when the Lakers go small.

Rookie forwards Taj Gibson and James Johnson are both likely too see minutes tonight, especially after a solid performance from Johnson in Sacramento. This will also double for Johnson as a learning experience, seing as the 6'10 forward Lamar Odom will be on the floor. Johnson has a similar skillset, and could learn from Odom. 

This leaves point guard Derrick Rose, the Bulls top draft pick from 2008, who has the opportunity to step up offensively. Rose will face a struggling Derek Fisher and the inefficient Jordan Farmar. Along with Luol Deng, who will face former Bull Ron Artest, Rose will have to step up and lead this Bulls team into the deep depths of the league's most dangerous lakes.

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  • Bulls: SCORING
    Points/Game: 90.4
    Field Goal %42.9
    Free Throw %71.6
    Three Point %29.4

    Lakers:SCORING
    Points/Game:101.5
    Field Goal %45.7
    Free Throw %71.7
    Three Point %34.9

    Bulls:DEFENSE
    Rebounds/Game:44.4
    Steals/Game:7.2
    Blocks/Game:6.4

    Lakers:DEFENSE
    Rebounds/Game:44.4
    Steals/Game:8.8
    Blocks/Game:5.0

  • One thing's for sure. Derrick Rose has almost no competition unless they slide Kobe to the one or Shannon Brown plays out of his mind. This is a game where he has to step up and be active throughout the entire game.

  • Here's the new BLOCKBUSTER TRADE.

    To Bulls: Chris Bosh, Marcus Banks and Morris Peterson
    To Raptors: David West, John Salmons, Jerome James and a #1 pick
    To Hornets: Tyrus Thomas (Louisiana native) and Luol Deng (younger SF)

    http://www.realgm.com/src_checktrade.php?tradeid=5291599

    Look at the potential lineups. They're are not that bad.

    Chicago: PG - Rose, SG - Wade?, SF - Johnson, PF - Bosh, C - Noah
    Toronto: PG - Calderon, SG - Salmons, SF - Turkoglu, PF - West, C -Bargnani
    New Orleans: PG - Paul, SG - Peja, SF - Deng, PF - Thomas, C - Okafor

    If Toronto and New Orleans continue to struggle, then maybe just maybe, Chris Bosh can be had at the trade-deadline. It's worth a shot. Bosh could lead to Wade. Afterall, Miami is thinking the opposite.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    This isn't out of the realm of possibility. It's not like New Orleans and Toronto are burning up the league.

  • Oh stop Mr. Happy.

    As for the game I see us having a real shot. Artest looks a step slow this season so far and I think Derrick has a solid game because Fisher and Farmar cant keep him infront of him. Game plan is let Kobe go off and shut down everyone else. Also is Kobe goes all 2005 Toronto Raptors on us we need to send him a message lol

  • In reply to Newskoolbulls:

    I believe I saw an atricle on NBA.com about Kobe having a fairly low shooting % against the Bulls. I thought it was around 41%.

  • In reply to Newskoolbulls:

    this looks like a tuff one!

  • In reply to Newskoolbulls:

    NOAH=MVPbull.

  • In reply to Newskoolbulls:

    Who is prettier Andrew Bynum or Lamars wife Khloe Kardashian?

  • In reply to Newskoolbulls:

    That was an ugly ending to the 1st. Rose looks clueless out there.

  • In reply to Newskoolbulls:

    atrocious shooting

  • In reply to Newskoolbulls:

    Well thats it folks. Down 10 with Chris Duhon starting for us.

  • In reply to Newskoolbulls:

    Whatever happened to Rose doing something about his play? He's still passive!

  • In reply to Newskoolbulls:

    wow now I am worried about Rose, he just went over to Lindsey and put his head down like he doesnt know whats wrong. I seriously think its his ankle and we need to shut him down or something.

  • In reply to Newskoolbulls:

    anyone here? I am lonley and I need to vent about this team.

  • In reply to Newskoolbulls:

    im here...and we're looking ugly.

  • In reply to Newskoolbulls:

    rose did better towards the end of the 3rd quarter. Guys this was suppose to be a lost anyways. LBJ please come to chicago!

  • In reply to vinmotors:

    we look so uncordinated out there...misread passes (miller/deng), airballs (pargo), travels (hinrich), lazy passes (james johnson).
    we dont seem to have an offensive gameplan against these guys.

    lakers front court has been dominating.

    no BIG surprises in this game, other than i thought it'd be a much closer loss. and i thought derrick would break out of his slump this game....in regards to his "im not cutting my hair until..." quote of derricks, all i can say is expect his hair to get pretty long. :(

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