Bulls @ Rockets 7:30 on CSN

The Chicago Bulls roll into Houston to face a Rockets team with more injury issues than us.   Yao Ming and Aaron Brooks will miss the game for certain while Chase Budinger is questionable.   The Bulls may be missing Kyle Korver, who is listed as questionable after having an MRI on his knee to check out an injury from Saturday's win against Washington, as well as Carlos Boozer who will likely return to the court shortly after the road trip ends.

The Rockets have Kevin Martin and Luis Scola playing at a high level, but unfortunately for Rockets fans, they aren't getting much help with Brooks and Ming out.   The Rockets are off to a 3-6 start, and a game that looked like a push in preseason looks like one the Bulls should win right now.

After learning of the Boozer injury, my initial fear was a 5-10 start that the Bulls would struggle to dig their way out of and eliminate us from talk of the 3rd seed and make the 4th seed a challenge.   However, after a 5-3 start, my Bulls aspirations are much higher.   In order to reach them, this becomes one of the key games the Bulls should get.

With three back to backs and four games in five nights over one stretch, you want to get this early one while the team is rested and going up against a mediocre team.

Keys to the game

Speed up the game

While you frequently want to slow down the game against worse teams, the Bulls have the personnel to run the Rockets right off the court, particularly their big men where Luis Scola and Brad Miller are their highest minute big men.    Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson can destroy these guys with speed and without Aaron Brooks, the Rockets have no one who can hope to match up with Derrick Rose on a fast break (or in the half court for that matter).

The Bulls are more susceptible in a half court game against the Rockets because of Luis Scola's post up game, Brad Miller's craftiness, and positional defenders like Shane Battier can do the most damage that way.   If the Bulls can keep the tempo up, then they'll run away with this one.

Derrick can't settle for the jumper

As noted in the speed section, there's absolutely no one on the Rockets
who has any chance in hell of checking Derrick Rose, but not only do
they have no perimeter defenders who can slow Rose down, they also have
no interior defenders to help when he blows by his man.

As such, Derrick Rose needs to live in the paint.   He should get there
easily all night long and find his teammates or finish for himself, but
the offense should flow through Rose even more than normal with this
matchup.

Joakim Noah needs to play with focus
He has a huge matchup advantage regardless of who they put on him, so he merely needs to focus on doing the things he does to come up with big returns.    The Bulls should try to keep Joakim in the game when Brad Miller is in the game and run Brad right off the court with early offense.   Noah should also have no problem dominating the glass, and with the lack of speed the Rockets have on the interior, he'll have ample offensive rebounding opportunities if the Bulls stay in attack mode.

Taj Gibson, Ronnie Brewer, and Keith Bogans need to D up
Presuming they'll largely be defending Kevin Martin and Luis Scola, they'll be responsible for stopping the majority of the Rockets offense which bodes well for the Bulls as they've been three of the Bulls best defenders early this season.  

If they can control their defensive matchups, the Rockets simply don't have the personnel to score from other positions right now.   The Bulls can even afford to help considerably against these two if needed.

Final thoughts
This is a game the Bulls should win.  In fact, it's a game the Bulls should own.   The injury depleted Rockets are missing several important players, and the Bulls match up extraordinary well against them.

Our best defenders naturally line up against their best offensive players while our best offensive players have no one who can check them opposing them.   While anything can happen, if these teams played 100 times with the lineups going tonight, the Bulls would probably win 85 of the games with 30+ blowouts.

Comments

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  • Let's get a easy win and blow them out early so we can hopefully rest our guys for the following night when we face a much tougher Spurs team!
    Looking forward to seeing X Kings Martin & Miller!
    Martin is a high rate scorer and has great height at 6'7" so I hope we start Brewer to match his athletism and size, but use Bogans as well for his good D. I hope both guys get good minutes & Rose doesn't have to do it all himself! He needs rest and with his up tempo game we can't have him go down with a injury!

  • Loving the match up, sounds like we'll put up a W. The only way the Rockets win is if they have a freak, or the term people have used, "New York Knicks" shooting night, but even then I think we'd also consequently have to shoot poorly.

  • Bulls should win the game but we also have to realize that The Rockets have been playing better as of late and that the game is in Houston, so I wouldn't say it will be a easy win, hopefully the Bulls can get the win, and a little off topic that I thought was interesting about a comment Carmelo made in an interview with the N.Y. post and I know people can't believe everything from the N.Y. media but this is a little bit from the conversation... I'm admittedly slow on the uptake, but Anthony gave me the impression he's singularly interested in playing for a team in the habit of inhabiting first place and bedding championships -- you know, like the Lakers, Celtics and Spurs. So, I was not all that surprised when Anthony revealed to The Post he has not expunged any of those three teams from his bottomless pit of gaping options. New York Post
    Rumors tags Denver Nuggets, Carmelo Anthony... This is why I keep saying that the Bulls need to continue to improve this team cause the top players in the league today want to play for the teams that has had a history in winning and winning championships. The time for bringing in players that can't contribute is over and the Bulls can't go through what the organization went through after the championship years. I just thought it was an interesting comment and it makes me wonder if other teams with championship experience might be involved in trying to make a big trade for Carmelo. It would be something if he did somehow end up with the lakers cause we all know the Lakers owner is willing to spend money to bring in the right players... JUST A THOUGHT.

  • A few notes that Bulls fans might find interesting if not already aware of:

    1. The Bulls have the 3rd and 31st highest 3pt fg% shooters in the league in Korver(57%) and Deng(44%), the two have shot 21 and 33 threes respectively. This has been such a blessing for us, and while it was expected from Korver, Deng is a completely different story. I don't see any kinks in Deng's shot that would make me think he can't float around 40% for the season, as long as he continues to take the three when it's given to him, never forcing the matter.

    2. Rose has truly been excellent. This isn't news I know but the kid leads the league when you combine ppg and apg standings. His ts% would be much higher if it weren't for his experimentation from three where he ranks second worst in the league in 3pt fg%, but hey names like Kevin Durant, Lebron James, and Rashard Lewis are also low on the list and aren't shooting much better than Rose from distance. So maybe its a little early to give up on such experimentation. Overall Rose has met expectations scoring wise while exceeding them as far as distribution goes.

    3. People seem to be quick to say the Heat are absolutely fine because they in the midst of a growing process. Heat fans are screaming from the rafters "just wait, we're going to get a lot better!" And while I tend to agree, can't the same be said for our Bulls. We also have a brand new coach, a vastly overhauled roster, and are missing our 2nd best player. I'd say if anything the Bulls actually have more room for improvement than the Heat. We are younger, have the better coach, and as mentioned have a huge asset scheduled for addition in the coming weeks. It just seems a little ridiculous to simply say the Heat will be good to go because of how much better they will get. Doesn't every single team vastly improve as the season goes on? It's not like as the Heat progress the rest of the league will remain stagnant.. Although John Hollinger seems to think so.

    Go Bulls

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    I have to admit that Deng's 3 point shooting is a shock to me. I thought we were getting the usual lip service about working on in the offseason, and we would get the same old same old once the season started.

    He really looks like a bonafide 3 point shooter so far. He is taking the shot naturally as part of the offense with no hesitiation. I am actually starting to expect it to go in now, much like the way I feel when Korver is open or back in the day Steve Kerr.

    Hopefully, this is not a mirage, there does not appear to be a reason to think that his shooting so far is an aberation.

  • FTA's and MATCHUPS:

    With Yao Ming out, I find no reason why Rose, Deng and Noah can't pile up the FTA's.

    (or Dunks)

    And I'm really looking forward to a couple of individual match-ups.

    - Gibson vs. Scola
    - Brewer's D vs. Martin's O

    If the Bulls win draw/win those match-ups and get to the FT-line...they'll win.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Yes, it will be interesting to see how many minutes Bogans and Brewer each get defending Kevin Martin.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Is it just me or does it seem like there's a lack of activity comment wise today? Fellas, stop working so hard lets talk Bulls.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    hou- win
    SA- win
    Dal- win
    LAL- loose by 6 points
    PH- Win
    Den- win by OT
    SAC- Win.

    WE can do dis!

  • In reply to vinmotors:

    Gimme what you're smokin', buddy. Dallas and San Antonio are looking beastly.

  • In reply to LittleAlex:

    it is the nba, all teams are professionals. They just gotta be hungry and win it. dats all. sorry i dont smoke anymore.

  • In reply to LittleAlex:

    I have to assume that you include your last name in order to differentiate yourself from a certain someone we all know and loath.

  • In reply to LittleAlex:

    No Aaron Brooks or Yoa....Bulls need to win this 1

  • In reply to LittleAlex:

    I swear....nobody on our team should be faked out by Brad Millers pump fake.....weve seen it up close for that last couple years lol Stay on the ground an put a hand in his face lol

  • In reply to LittleAlex:

    The Rockets have a winning record in games that Yao has missed since he's been in the league ... for a guy who has put up the stats he does it's amazing how little difference he makes to their team. The worst thing we can do is think they'll be easy without him.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    We should be able to win 3 games out West, then 3/6 of the next games after that with some more tough games against the Lakers, Celtics, Magic & others. After the first 21 games, we should be no worse then 1 game above .500

    Then comes the fun stretch, we could honestly win the next 14 in a row, and really build some ground on the Eastern rivals. That 1st quarter of the season is the toughest, but the rest of the sched is not bad at all, and only gets tough during 2 more road trips

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    contained KMart2 is the key. I hope we started Brewer or at least use both him and Bogans to contain KMart2. I think we can exploit Houston's front court and Noah and get on Scola if Gibson has troubles with him.
    Can't wait to see Brad's lil pony trot to the hoop! LOL

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Sam Smith with a geat article on Rose not getting the calls:

    http://blogs.bulls.com/2010/11/its-depressing-brother-can-you-spare-a-foul/

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    If I were the Bulls, I would hire one person to review every game tape and cut each, and every non-called foul against Rose, and send it to the league.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I don't like Gibson/Scola straight up, this is a game where we miss Boozer and his size and strength.

    This is the type of matchup that usually reveals Taj and not quite starting calibre at power forward in the NBA

  • The goaltending call looked pretty poor to me as well.

  • Corey Brewer huh? And a TON of Scola love... Great passer, not good but great.

    I don't know who the announcer is but he sucks. And we look like crap too.

  • shit dont tell me D is hurt!

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    Damn they should have knocked rose down earlier lol

  • Doug is such a good parent. lol

  • Stacey King is just beyond ridiculous. He was screaming "heat check!" like it was the safety word.

  • In reply to WearShades:

    Haha I love kings announcing

  • In reply to WearShades:

    Horribly bad win today. If those two shots by Kyle Lowry weren't erased, we would have lost. I feel pretty bad for that kid. Just a horrible offensive game for the starters. Lack of energy and lack of defense and discipline during the 1st and 3rd quarter. They won, but it wasn't the prettiest win or most convincing win.

    It's a great start considering they got a win, but should be no moral victory for that starting unit besides Derrick Rose.

  • In reply to rnohria310:

    Its a good win because it will give them a wake up call for the next game without giving us one in the L column.

    I am starting to worry about Jos rebounding dipping what is going on??

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    Brad Miller must have been cracking some terrible jokes...

    "You make Joakim shoot the jumper," Miller said. "I know his game. Keep him off the glass and hit him with some of the same moves, slow pump fakes and make him laugh and distract him."
    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/bk/bkn/7296522.html

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    Brad Miller must have been cracking some terrible jokes:

    "You make Joakim shoot the jumper," Miller said. "I know his game. Keep him off the glass and hit him with some of the same moves, slow pump fakes and make him laugh and distract him."

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/bk/bkn/7296522.html

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    I am worried too. Its not just a dip in the #'s, but watching him, he is not coming away with the traffic ones, the ones he was ripping down early in the year.

  • In reply to rnohria310:

    I wonder if this game earned Brewer the starting job back??

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    Doubt it. Bogans was clearly the better defender in this game. Unfortunately, he got into some early foul trouble.

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    Anyone out there think Rose shouldn't keep taking 3's? Didn't think so.

    Rose has now won 2 games by shooting the 3, and has lost none

    Ohh, & now shooting a respectable 32%

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    The officiating this game was horse shit, until the 4th quarter, when it was finally balanced out. Refereeing like that makes me want to stop watching the NBA sometimes

  • In reply to UtahBullsFan:

    Rose saying he can win MVP? I think he will be able to make that case this season. He is such a joy to watch, & now he is taking over games in the 4th, what a stud. If the Bulls keep winning, he will be a candidate. I don't think most people, the casual observers, understand how good he is. Now he's becoming a thinker out there too, reading the plays & making the right move every time!! Watch out NBA. & he's only 22 too?

  • In reply to rnohria310:

    & how do you feel bad for him? He hit 2 lucky shots that were after the light went off. Everyone at home saw them, the refs did too.

    & how can you say we would have lost? if anything we just wouldn't have been shooting free throws at the end

  • In reply to WearShades:

    Just a terrible game today. If Kyle Lowry's shots weren't taken away, we would have lost. There is no moral victory for the starters except Rose. Terribly played game by our starters.

    Its a great start to the circus trip by having the first game but was very unimpressed with the performance.

  • In reply to rnohria310:

    I disagree completely, the only thing terrible was the free throw shooting, & shooting in general of Gibson & Deng

    They showed a lot of resilience.

    They are showing they can find ways to win when some things aren't going so well.

    And how are you going to say "If Lowry's shots weren't taken away..."? Those were circus shots & he was lucky to hit them in the first place! If the officiating wasn't horse shit for the first 36 minutes, it would have been a blow out in favor of the Bulls

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Agreed ChiRy, even though they missing free throws they still didn't give up and I continue to be surprised by Asik. Bogans is looking better too. I think this team just continues to get better. Go Bulls!!! p.s. D-Rose MVP...could be.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Another win when the bulls didn't bring their A game. That's a great sign. Defense was what saved them in the end.

  • In reply to WearShades:

    I love Stace & Neil! Stacey's my guy!

  • get brewer out o f there

  • whats the deal with the free throw %

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    terrible tonight, just a shade over 50%

  • yup. Nobody has any patience in this country anymore. Keep shooting Rose. He'll get that 3 ball to a consistent level by the all-star break

  • DVR Doug, its a gift from the heavens

  • yes he is, but he'll probably get called for a tech soon for hanging on the rim too long too

  • Exactly, the only effective way to guard him is to foul him, & it works most of the time

    I think Rose can shoot higher than 33% f/ 3

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