The Chicago Bulls would have little problem dispatching the Hornets best players with or without Derrick Rose, but they may be going up against the equivalent of their D-LEAGUE team tonight.
Eric Gordon is out. Carl Landry is out. Jarrett Jack looks like a game time decision [though he practiced Tuesday, so he's likely after missing three games with a sore knee]. Those are the Hornets three top scorers, and let's face it when Jarrett Jack is your second leading scorer, you're in trouble anyway.
Rest Derrick Rose
I don't know whether Rose will attempt to play through the pain or not. However, this is one of those games management needs to step in and say "You're sitting". The Bulls should destroy this team regardless of whether he plays, and his back injury is likely at least somewhat compensatory for coming back too early from the toe injury.
The Bulls need Derrick healthy, and there's absolutely no reason at all for him to play through injuries against teams that stand virtually no chance of beating the Bulls second string.
The Hornets really don't have any shot creators on their team. If the Bulls buckle down defensively, they could probably hold this team to 70 points or less. Who's going to score the ball? Trevor Ariza? Emeka Okafor? Chris Kaman?
As long as Chicago prevents easy looks, they'll roll on defense.
Get the big lead early
This is one of those teams that's going to fold as soon as they hit even a shred of adversity. Chicago shouldn't find much trouble winning the game, but if they come in with focus and intensity early, New Orleans will fold and give up the game in the first ten minutes just like the Nets.
While the Bulls won't need a fast start to win, if they have a healthy respect for their opponent and play with high energy from the opening tip, they'll take the will out of the Hornets and have a much easier time.
Get some rest
I really don't want to see starters playing 35+ minutes if the Bulls have a 20+ point lead in the fourth quarter. I propose a new rule for the coaching staff. If the following conditions are met, you can't bring your starters back in the game after subbing them out in the fourth quarter:
1: Your opponent is a sub .500 team
2: You have a double digit lead
Pretty simple. If the Bulls simply rested their top five players under those conditions, we'd cut down their average minutes per game by probably 4-5 mpg while taking on virtually no risk whatsoever of dropping an additional game.
That results in 11-12% lower chance of injury for the starters and 11-12% less wear and tear on their bodies in a season where recovery time is limited and four of your five starters have already had notable injuries this season.
Pretty straight forward.