The Chicago Bulls come off two days of rest after they looked visibly worn out in a blowout loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Atlanta on Saturday. Chicago struggled to get back on defense, struggled to defend the paint and overall looked like a team who's starters play too many minutes, something they've avoided in the past despite a heavy workload.
No easy task
The Houston Rockets are rolling. They've beaten the Knicks, 76ers, and Grizzlies in their past three games and have won five of their past six overall. That's a nice streak against some quality competition. Jeremy Lin has been revitalized since heading to Madison Square Garden and has scored 22, 18, 15 to go along with 8, 6, and 11 assists in his past three games.
With Lin playing better, the Rockets have a two pronged perimeter attack which is much more difficult to defend than when he couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. James Harden still provides the volume offense for the Rockets attack with a ridiculously good 60% TS% despite moving from a third option to a #1 option this season.
Harden proved he's a legit star player in this league rather than someone who required other star players to help him get quality looks or deflect some of the attention from him.
Offense vs defense
The Rockets are above average offensively and below defensively. The Bulls are obviously the reverse. Chicago typically defends well against teams with a primary offensive focal point like the Rockets which force most of their action through Harden. The Rockets will become dangerous if Lin is on and much more containable if he's not.
On the other side of the ball, the Bulls should look to Luol Deng who should be able to score well against Chandler Parsons as well as Carlos Boozer who matches up against the undersized Patrick Patterson.
If Chicago struggles with Marco Belinelli defending James Harden they may look to play Jimmy Butler significantly more at SG to give a more defensive look.