Chicago have just come off two straight wins against the New York Knicks, with Derrick Rose averaging 28 points on more than 60% from the field. Needless to say, the hip seems alright. That is going to be a plus for the Bulls who take on the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight.
Chicago made a pair of trades the other night, moving John Salmons to Milwaukee and Tyrus Thomas to Charlotte. In return the Bulls got Hakim Warrick and Joe Alexander for Salmons and Flip Murray and Acie Law for Tyrus Thomas.
Chicago now has fifteen players on their roster after waiving forward/center Chris Richard. The trade brought with it a chance for the Bulls to enter the 2010 off-season with enough cap space to sign a maximum free agent. So if LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh show interest in Chicago, the Bulls can afford one of them.
Kirk Hinrich survived another deadline and will likely start at shooting guard for the rest of the season. Backing him up will now be Flip Murray and Devin Brown, two player acquired within the last month. An adjustment period will be necessary for all the new players, but the Bulls are still in the playoff picture.
Derrick Rose has been on fire since the All-Star break and looks fluid and aggressive out there. Granted, he scored easily over the Knicks defense which is often non-exsistant, but his movement and shot-selection has improved since early December. The 21-year old point guard is averaging 19.9 points, and needs just 24 tonight to break the 20-points a game barrier.
Forward Luol Deng is in the middle of an outstanding year. This was a long time coming after two injury-riddled season in which the now 24-year old struggled. Deng is averaging 18.2 points and 7.4 rebounds while adding excellent defense.
Tonight, the Bulls face the Minnesota Timberwolves who have two excellent rebounders in Al Jefferson and Kevin Love. Without center Joakim Noah, the Bulls seek a strong performance from rookie Taj Gibson.