The Bulls will be back at the United Center after an 0-2 road trip, and will look to redeem themselves against the Michael Redd-less Milwaukee Bucks.
Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose is shooting 37% from the floor over the three-game stretch in the early part of the season. Last year's Rookie Of the Year has been noticeably limited by lack of training and a sore ankle. Tonight, Rose and the Bulls take on their NBA neighbors from Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Bucks. Rookie point guard Brandon Jennings has exploded to the scene over his first two games, and will be a tough assignment for the Bulls' backcourt.
Jennings has averaged an impressive 20.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists in the early part of the season. This included a near tripble-double of 17 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in his debut. The 6'1 guard was drafted 10th overall by Milwaukee after a year in Italy where he played for Lottomatica Roma after his senior year of high school.
The Bucks come in with a 1-1 record, and have received stellar play from power forward Hakim Warrick (15.0 points, 8.5 free throw attempts), who came to the Bucks this summer after four years in Memphis. As expected with Scott Skiles as head coach, the Bucks have been energetic on defense, and guarded the three-point shot well.
The Bulls come into this game hoping to see an encore by 6th year forward Luol Deng. The often injured Deng looked fresh and explosive against Miami, which saw him put up 26 points and grab eight rebounds. Guard/forward John Salmons also came to life offensively, after pouring in 17 points on 50% shooting. Salmons has struggled defensively against his three counterparts in the season so far, but projects to have a stronger game on that end against a slower Charlie Bell.
As has been the norm of the season, Bulls center Joakim Noah is once again expected to play big minutes tonight. Noah leads the team in rebounding, and is second in scoring and shot-blocking. Against Miami, Noah played beyond the box score, tapping a lot of lose balls to his teammates while consistently keeping balls alive for second chance opportunities. He'll go up against Bucks center Andrew Bogut, a former top draft pick, who has developed into the Bucks' defensive anchor on the interior.
Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro has not seen eye-to-eye with fourth-year forward Tyrus Thomas, which has resulted in just under a half of play a game for the high-flying shot-blocker. Thomas has seen his rebounds increase this year, and is getting to the line at career rate. The Bulls are looking for Thomas to establish himself on both ends, and live up to the potential of his high draft status. Tonight, Thomas will not be in uniform after being sent home with the flu.