Tonight, All-Star point guard Derrick Rose (feels good to say, don't it?) and the Chicago Bulls will visit the New Orleans Hornets to take on Chris Paul and company. Chicago is on a four-game winning streak against western conference teams, and will try to build on that against the Hornets.
Newly-acquired guard Devin Brown could have made his Bulls debut against the Thunder, but head coach Vinny Del Negro opted for more practice time with the 31-year old before inserting him into the rotation.
Not including tonights game, the Bulls have seven games to go before the All-Star break, and during that stretch they will face the Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami, Indiana and Orlando. After the victory over Oklahoma City, the Bulls are 22-22 with a look at the seventh seed in the eastern conference.
Small forward Luol Deng knocked down three of four from downtime at Oklahoma City, and once again showed his improved stroke from the outside. The 6'9 forward is shooting over 44% from behind the arc on the year, and has shot 41% from three over his last three seasons. This year however, Deng has increased the volume of his shot attempts on the long ball, which has the Bulls optimistic about Deng being the future pairing with Rose.
Center Joakim Noah sat at Houston, but played at San Antonio two nights later. The 6'11 center didn't make the All-Star game, but has played extremely well for the season. Noah averages 12.1 rebounds on the season, and will go up against Emeka Okafor and David West.
Rookie Taj Gibson, who will participate in the rookie game on All-Star weekend, has averaged 11 rebounds per game over the four game winning streak, and has been a major help for the Bulls on the glass. Gibson is fitting in nicely in the league and seems to adapt well to whatever pace is at play on a per-game basis.