Chicago Bulls vs Orlando Magic, 7:00 PM WGN

Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic is in townto face the Bulls, who have received strong play from Derrick Rose as of late. Chicago is on a three-game winning streak and comes off a road win against the Detroit Pistons where they faced former Bulls Ben Gordon and Ben Wallace.

Howard leads the league in rebounding and shot-blocking, but has seen his scoring dip this season. This has been saved by Orlando's main off-season acquisition, Vince Carter.

The Magic is still a perimeter team, hitting over 10 three-pointers a night while leaving most of their interior scoring to Howard. This game will be one of the biggest tests Joakim Noah will receive this year. Noah, who is much improved in every facets of the game this season, is grabbing 12.5 rebounds a night and has a strong defensive impact on the Bulls. He's a darkhouse candidate to make his first all-star team in February, and going up against Howard is one of the toughest tasks of the season.

Luckily, Noah doesn't have to focus on scoring as both Derrick Rose and Tyrus Thomas have been scoring at a good rate the last three games. Rose is averaging 21.3 points and Thomas has chipped in 16.0 points as well as 10.3 rebounds over that time span. The Bulls have also seen improved play from Kirk Hinrich and John Salmons after the switch in the starting line-up.

Rookie forward Taj Gibson is quietly having a solid rookie season. The 24-year old is scoring 8.3 points and collecting 6.1 rebounds in just over 24 minutes a night. Gibson is also shooting close to 51% from the field, but continues to struggle from the line where he's knocking down just 53%.

Sixth-year forward Luol Deng has seen his shot amount decrease after the return of Tyrus Thomas, and this has had an effect in his scoring numbers. Deng is averaging 11.3 points over his last three and has taken just 33 shots in that time. The Bulls will look to get Deng more involved offensively, as they'll need him to score the ball against an efficient Orlando team.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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  • REBOUNDING and RUNNING.

    Those are the keys to the game. The Bulls can't give up alot of SECOND CHANCE POINTS. EVERYBODY has to rebound the ball. And when they get rebounds Derrick Rose and his fellow teammates need to RUN and ATTACK THE BASKET. Getting to the FT-line would help their chances of winning tremendously.

  • that isnt a bad deal..i know some people are goina say its so derrick can throw him alleys..thats not true..iggy has a really really good overall game now..and is the main reason philly winning whatever they won since a.i's departure...he could be our #2 option behind derrick..and i wouldnt mind it..but we have to get bosh later on to be our 1st to move iggy to our 3rd option to really be good..bosh and noah can run..put that with derrick and iggy.. and move deng..problem istyrus would have to be involed for bosh unless we replace tyrus with james johnson,2 ro 3 future first,cash and a bigger expiring contract...toronto has already said..bosh isnt being moved until the end of the season(sign & trade) so bosh can get more $$ and tor gets something in return..

  • i'm against trading both hinrich AND thomas for iggy. i wouldn't mind moving hinrich if the deal was right. thomas i'd more so like to see the bulls keep and fully utilize his skill sets. i don't think iggy is a valuable enough player on the bulls team to make this deal look good. not on a collective team talent viewpoint.

  • In reply to djphillie:

    Agreed, we really need a three point shooter between Rose and Deng. Even though I love everything else Iggy does, 30% from three just isn't going to cut it.

    Plus I'm really hesitant to trade TT right now. Ideally, I'd like to see how he plays out the rest of the season and then decide to keep him around or not. More realistically, until closer to the trade deadline. Plus, at this moment, his trade value is a lie. If he returns to old form it will go down a bit, but if he keeps showing us evidence that he finally gets it... he could end up being a major piece in a trade instead of more of a throw in.

  • here's what the Magic website are saying about tonight's game:

    "After a dismal offensive performance in front of a national audience on Christmas Day, coach Stan Van Gundy shuffled the Orlando Magic's lineup to give it more speed.

    They had little trouble keeping up with the Chicago Bulls last season.

    Having snapped a three-game road skid, Orlando will try to end the Bulls' season high-tying three-game run Saturday night in Chicago.

    The Magic (24-8) halted their slide, and won for the fifth time in six games after beating Minnesota 106-94 on Friday. Although Dwight Howard and Vince Carter were held to nine and 12 points, respectively, Rashard Lewis had 21 and Matt Barnes reached double-figures for a second straight game, scoring 17 points.

    Barnes, who also had 11 rebounds, got a second consecutive start after Van Gundy wanted to speed up the offense following an 86-77 loss to Boston on Dec. 25. Orlando shot 33.3 percent and had only seven assists in that game, but have since shot 50.3 percent and totaled 43 assists in convincing wins over Milwaukee and the Timberwolves.

    "He's the only guy on our team that runs, first of all," Van Gundy said of Barnes. "Nobody else will run, they jog. He's different than our other guys because he cuts and he will rebound the ball all the time. He does a lot of things that our other perimeter players don't do. He gives us a totally different look, I think he complements our other guys really well."

    The Magic are 7-2 with Barnes in the starting lineup, averaging 103.1 points. On Friday, he helped make up for the lack of production from Howard - the team's leading scorer with 17.1 points per game - who finished below 10 for the second time in three contests.

    Howard and the Magic haven't had much trouble scoring against the Bulls (13-17), however. Orlando averaged 104.5 points while winning three of four in 2008-09 as Howard averaged 19.5 points and 12.5 rebounds.

    The Magic might not have to score in bunches to beat Chicago in the first meeting of the season. The Bulls are tied for the third-lowest scoring team in the NBA at 91.7 points per game.

    Orlando is looking to improve a 3-3 record in the second game of back-to-backs. The Magic have lost the last two.

    While the Bulls have struggled to score, they have improved recently, averaging 99.3 points over their last three games. A 98-87 victory over Detroit on Thursday matched the team's longest losing streak of the season, set Nov. 3-7.

    "This feels good," said Joakim Noah, who had 15 points and a career high-tying 21 rebounds. "I think we are just playing better basketball right now for whatever reason."

    Derrick Rose scored 22 points. The reigning rookie of the year is averaging 23.4 points during the Bulls 5-2 stretch after averaging 18.6 in the previous 13 as went Chicago 2-11.

    All of Chicago's last three wins have come against teams with losing records, but its next two opponents have records above .500. The Bulls are 3-11 against teams with winning records. "

  • i think this is obvious

    so yes, i agree

  • exactly people forget iggy is a really good defender..my thing is..why would we want loul to stay?..he is NOT APART OF OUR FUTURE PLANS so dont say inbetween derrick and loul..10 million a year for a 2 qrts,injury prone,slow foward,non dribble,no post up backup,only midrange in a someone face game..loul is nice..10 million nice? never in life..iggy would move to the 3 for us and we add a shooting 2 guard who stretches the offense and defends the best player..loul i repeat should be the first to go instead of anyone else...period..loul unless he goes to the 4 in which he wont be because im really staring to feel tyrus is goina keep his mind right because he has the talent not to mention potiential to be a real piece moving foward..

  • Bulls players coming together for their coach lol i love it. Great game so far. Rose has been so aggressive. When Barnes is the Magics leading scorer you pretty much know the outcome lol. As for Vince Carter I have never seen a player have so many ankle issues like he has the past 10 years. Magic hitting 3s now damn.

  • 99 points

    Come on John salmons hit those free throws lol.

  • what a win

    Bulls 6 wins in their last 8 games. Rallying for Vinny.

  • I just love Taj Gibson, there i said it. He is a real enegizer out there. I have to give it up for Brad tonight, i have been riding him bad this year so far and I will give him credit for tonight.

  • As bad as Deng is? What the hell are you smoking? He's about as good as you get from someone playing off the ball, not demanding to be the center of attention. He's a glue guy, and as you can see in the recent Deng vs Gordon article, his contract isn't nearly as bad as it at first seemed. We lucked into that, but it's just the same.

  • In reply to msalivar:

    problem is deng doesnt play off ball anymore it isnt 06..he plays on garbage points and forced shots now..vinnys system has sfs trying to creat more..and god knows loul cant do so..yeah but loul is surrounded by slashers..when he was at his best and scoring easily was when the court was spaced with hinrich and gordon alond his side..deng or gordon doesnt deserve their contracts..end of discussion

  • In reply to msalivar:

    Guys are fighting for Vinnys job, they have not quit of him like the bulls of 07 did to Scott.

  • In reply to msalivar:

    Bulls fans are so greedy, they got a kick ass t-shirt and than they had to urge the bulls to score 100 so they could get free food.

  • In reply to msalivar:

    That was a very good win for the Bulls. Rose looks like an All-Star, regardless of the popular vote. I think VDN's move, which I support and suggested, of moving Salmons to the bench to back-up Deng at SF and Hinrich into the starting lineup at SG is paying off.

    Now, if they could just trade James Johnson for a younger SG with some size and shooting ability, I would be really happy.

  • In reply to msalivar:

    If the Bulls can move into the 5th seed, I would hope John Paxson and/or Gar Forman would make a strong play for Chris Bosh.

    Here's a very nice idea.

    http://www.realgm.com/src_checktrade.php?tradeid=5360179

  • In reply to msalivar:

    if we keep winning why make a deal a disrupt chemistry?

  • In reply to msalivar:

    What do you guys think of the Neil Funk, Stacey King combo. I love Stacey's humor but find Neil to irritating. You can almost always predict his calls on a failed play by the opponent. "What was he thinking!", "They just look disinterested to me", "I'm surprised by the kind of effort they have displayed". Those are among many of his gems ;). Personally, I would prefer to have Tom Dore and Stacey King teaming up.

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