Tom Thibodeau attempts to become the fastest coach to reach 100 wins. A record sure to set him on the HOF path just like current record holder Avery Johnson [/sarcasm]. If he manages to break the record tonight, he'll have earned it coaching his team to wins against Miami, Philly, and Orlando without the help of superstar Derrick Rose who will miss tonight's game.
This game depends more on the Magic than Chicago
The Bulls just recently lost to Orlando at full strength and without their star, they'll be heavy underdogs tonight. That said, they've won plenty without Rose and even have a few marquee wins during his absences this season. However, if the Magic play their game, they should win.
Can the Bulls find shooting?
With Dwight Howard likely making the Bulls lives difficult in the paint, Chicago will need to rely more on outside shooting than the drive in order to score. Like all teams, the Bulls can be streaky with their three point shooting. Without the threat of the drive, the Magic will likely pressure the three point line in order to limit the Bulls quality three point looks.
Watson, Lucas, and Korver may need to shoot more off the dribble rather than just kick outs.
Noah has been on a tear but can he continue against Howard?
Joakim Noah has been great on the glass and has done a nice job attacking the basket. Now he gets to attempt to continue the trend against the best center in the NBA. Howard can rip down boards better than just about anyone in the NBA, and he should have little trouble containing Noah's offense.
Joakim will also have a tall task on defense attempting to corral Howard and stop him from destroying the Bulls. No one expects Noah to win the matchup, but if he can do what he normally does (give the Bulls 12-12 on nice efficiency) then it will help considerably.
Can Carlos do it again?
Carlos Boozer was about the only thing the Bulls had going for them last game against Orlando. I'm always hesitant to expect much out of Boozer, but Ryan Anderson is the type of player he matches up pretty well with. Chicago needs quite a bit from both Boozer and Deng who've been up and down without Rose in the past.
Defend the three point line
The Magic jack up tons of threes. There offense is to toss the ball into Dwight, let him get deep position then toss it back in or throw up a three. The Bulls need to find a way to bring help without exposing the defense to too many open three point shots. They need to particularly watch Redick and Anderson as well as anyone in the corner.
Last game it was Jason Richardson who did them in behind the three point line going four of six.
Tough to see a win
Not only is Orlando the favorite without Rose in, but they're also likely as mentally cohesive as they've been all season with Dwight Howard definitely coming back for one additional season. Chicago will need a few bounces to go their way as well as excellent shooting in order to pull off the upset.
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