After a second straight beatdown, the Bulls return home to face the Houston Rockets in a game where they're prohibitive favorites. The Bulls failed against the premier competition in the East and have struggled to fit Carlos Boozer into the rotation. Boozer himself, hasn't played well and isn't rebounding the ball or knocking down his shots. Given that he missed all of preseason and hasn't played with the primary players here before, that's not all that surprising.
While the Bulls did lose to the Magic/Celtics, I'm glad Boozer got onto the court to get some of the rust off against the best teams. His integration was going to prove challenging and to get some of it out of the way on games the Bulls may have lost anyway is better than losing a couple of games that they should have won.
However, in order to avoid that fate, they'll need to win tonight vs Houston.
Keys to the game
Same as last game, in terms of incorporating Boozer
The process is going to take as long as it takes. Boozer's a good fit for this team, but he hasn't practiced with the team much or played in preseason. It's just going to take some time, but the Rockets represent a good team to work him in against. Luis Scola's a quality PF, especially offensively, but he's hardly a defensive dynamo.
Derrick Rose can't settle for jumpers
The Rockets have no interior defense to speak of. Rose should live in the paint against this team. Part of this is simply the driving mentality and working for those shots. Derrick sometimes gets into a mode where he's content to launch mid range jumpers, and when he's feeling it, or when it's setting up the drive that's not bad.
However, Rose needs to attack when possible, and that should be all night long.
Joakim should dominate
The Rockets simply don't have the size/speed at center to keep up with Noah. He needs to own the glass on both ends of the court. Noah should also score well on the offensive end of the court against the Rockets as they don't have the size to contain him even with his limited arsenal of post moves.
Don't beat yourself
Against poor teams you never want to turn the ball over or give up much on the offensive glass. The Bulls have the rebounders to dominate the Rockets on the glass, so as long as they are careful with the ball they should beat up on the rockets.
Keep Martin away from the hoop and don't bite on Scola's pump fakes
The Houston offense really only has two great options. Luis Scola and Kevin Martin. Scola beat up the Bulls last game using pump fakes and then drawing fouls and getting layups at the hoop. Martin also draws a lot of fouls by driving to the hoop, so play the drive and force him to shoot mid/long range jumpers.
The Bulls should end their two game skid with this game. The Rockets aren't a particularly good team, and the Bulls will be playing at home. The Bulls are coming off a back to back while the Rockets are rested, but there's still no excuse for the Bulls to drop this game.