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.