Derrick Rose is getting closer and closer to playing in a special game in february.. The second-year point guard scored 32 points against the Phoenix Suns last night, and made a series of high-difficulty shots. He also dunked so hard on Suns guard Goran Dragic that doctors are still checking the Slovenian player for permanent 'ownage' damage.
Tonight, Rose will look for the encore as the Bulls are off to Houston and will face one of the toughest teams in the league. With no apparent stars, the Rockets have won through defense, ball-movement and a willingness to play unselfish ball. They will try their best closing off the lane for Rose.
Bulls forward Luol Deng had 23 points and 6 rebounds against the Suns, and is in the middle of a solid season for Chicago. He's going to play an important role tonight, as he'll try to close off the three-point line for Trevor Ariza and Shane Battier. Both players can stroke the ball, and both will combine their efforts in slowing down the sixth-year forward from Sudan.
Joakim Noah racked up 19 points, 8 rebounds and swatted two shots at Phoenix. The third-year center from Florida knocked down three jumpshots, hit 9-of-10 from the line and had one of his most efficient offensive outings of the season. He'll be matched up against the 6'6 center/forward Chuck Hayes. But size don't tell the whole story. Hayes is one of the best interior defenders in the NBA, and has an excellent nose for rebounding. Noah will be in for a long night, as he'll also face power forward Luis Scola on occasion.
Guard/forward John Salmons got it going, hitting two shots from behind the arc. He's now increased his 3-point field goal percentage to 38.8%, and seems to have come alive. Along with Kirk Hinrich, the duo has found success in switching places in the starting line-up.
Tyrus Thomas could play a strong factor against the Rockets, if he's willing to run the floor. Houston doesn't have anyone who matches his athleticism, and Thomas could be racking up a ton of easy buckets just by filling the lane.