The Bulls roll into Denver where they're likely to see Carmelo Anthony for the last time this season. The Bulls beat the Nuggets at home earlier in the year, and are looking for another win tonight which would lock in their first winning circus trip since the Jordan era.
Unfortunately for the Bulls, Derrick Rose is questionable for tonight's game with a neck strain. If Rose can't go due to the neck injury, and his current description would make it quite difficult to play basketball, then C.J. Watson will start in his place, and who the heck knows who will play the backup PG.
--- UPDATE --
Derrick Rose is out
It's difficult to write much of a useful game analysis without knowing whether Rose will play, but here goes:
Keys to the game
Derrick Rose needs to play, or C.J. Watson needs to step up. It'd be easy to write this game off without Derrick Rose, but C.J. Watson is the type of guard who, when allowed to dominate the ball, can go off and score 30 points for you on a hot night.
While our odds of winning are limited without Rose, I'd expect to see C.J. Watson play an entirely different brand of basketball when he knows he's getting 35+ minutes and is required to score / create for the team on every possession.
I hope Derrick is feeling well enough to play, and I hope we don't try and force him on the court if he's not. Rose strikes me as the type of guy who will lie to the coach to get on the court even if feeling lousy, so the coaching staff should be wary of that as well.
Luol Deng needs to play well tonight. He was really eaten alive by Anthony last game. We need to have Deng work Anthony a lot harder on offense, and he needs to do it through off the ball movement not isolation plays. Get Deng running around screens and get him the ball en route to the basket.
That will make Anthony work hard or give the Bulls easy looks, either outcome is good for us.
Dominate the interior. Interestingly, in the last game against the Bulls, the Nuggets went isolation to Nene for the first 3/4ths of the early plays of the game and were successful on virtually every attempt in scoring points. For some reason, they decided that they'd then never try that again the rest of the game.
We'll have to hope that Noah plays better defense or that Denver remains resistant to going back to what scored points for them 80% of the time they tried it.
If rose is out, then Taj/Noah will need to really dominate the paint in order for the Bulls to have a chance, they'll need to win purely on grizzle and defense at that point.
If rose is out, ball movement and bench play. The bulls rely on Derrick Rose to create a lot of offense for them, but if he misses the game, they'll need to rely on the system without having any great shot creators left to make the magic happen.
In that scenario, look for a lot off the ball movement from screens to create open looks for Brewer/Deng cutting to the basket and Korver behind the three point arc. I'd expect to see Joakim Noah do a lot of the offensive orchestration for the team out of the post in that scenario.
If Rose sits in this game, and the Bulls get destroyed due to lack of a third ball handler on the team, look for a quick emergency signing within the next few days. With a healthy Rose, I think this game is a push. Without a healthy Rose, the Bulls are decided underdogs. Taj Gibson said his foot is feeling much better and that he'll play.