The Chicago Bulls look to rebound after a tough loss to the Orlando Magic when they take on the Utah Jazz tonight. They'll likely have to do it without Hamilton, Deng, and Watson.
Bad omen for Chicago
Luol Deng missing three or four games now in order to lessen the pain in his wrist isn't a particularly big deal in the sense of the missed games, however, what it portends for the future should scare Bulls fans.
How will Deng play through the pain the playoffs? Will he miss playoff games due to pain? Will he simply play poorly due to dealing with the pain? This isn't a criticism of Deng merely a realistic assessment. Deng's got a significant injury, and he's doing his best to play through it.
His determination is admirable, but it doesn't mean the results on the court will be equally admirable.
How do the Bulls fare against the inside attack?
Al Jefferson has historically torched the Bulls, and the Jazz can throw out Paul Milsap to beat them up inside as well. The combination means that Chicago will need to focus heavily on interior defense in order to get past the Jazz.
Chicago should jam the paint on the Jazz and force them to take shots from the perimeter.
No shooters to worry about
Unlike the Orlando Magic, Utah really has no shooters worth mentioning. Raja Bell is perhaps the one guy who bares extra attention outside the three point line, but the rest of the team shoots threes rarely and mostly inefficiently. Due to their lack of shooters, Chicago can afford to play the drive and the post with more bodies and cheat to the interior.
Lots of chances to attack
Derrick Rose should slice through this Jazz defense which lacks a shot blocking persence. Devin Harris is an athletic guy who can probably make a passable attempt to stay with Rose on the perimeter, but no one in the NBA can stay with Rose without help and Harris is no exception.
Once Rose beats Harris off the dribble, where does the help come from? Milsap and Jefferson are both shorter guys for big men and neither has tremendous athleticism to challenge shots. Rose can certainly expect more traps, and the Bulls will need to be ready to defend against the trap.
Who steps up?
With Rip, Deng, and Watson out, the Bulls will have little perimeter attack outside of Rose. Korver can knock down some open shots while Lucas can shoot the three if he sets his feet. Can Boozer deliver another quality game? Can Noah give the Bulls some scoring to complement his rebounding? Will Brewer play well?
Chicago's going to need to find some offense somewhere, and it's not necessarily going to be easy.
Utah's a solid team, and the Bulls have plenty of issues with injuries to weaken them. However, at home, coming off a loss, I like the Bulls to find a way to win this game.