It doesn’t matter if Derrick Rose is healthy or not, the defense of the Chicago Bulls continues to be the best in the NBA. They will most likely get another chance to win without Rose on Saturday when they host the 3-12 Charlotte Bobcats.
Chicago (14-3) will be looking to win their third-straight game. Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for Saturday night.
Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
When: Saturday, January 21, 2012, 8:00 pm ET
Listen: ESPN 100 AM
Live Stream: NBA.com
Betting Line: Chicago (-12), according to USA Today.
Bulls: Derrick Rose (toe) is doubtful. Taj Gibson (ankle) is doubtful. Joakim Noah (ankle) is probable.
Bobcats: Corey Maggette (hamstring), Eduardo Najera (knee) and Reggie Williams (knee) are scheduled to return in early February.
Both injury reports are according to USA Today.
What’s at Stake?
Chicago can’t allow a team like Charlotte to come to their arena and steal a road victory given how poorly they have played this season.
Even though the NBA is playing 66 games this season, a loss at home to a team like the Bobcats would signal a red flag, even if they don’t have the league MVP.
Charlotte is simply looking for any positives at this point.
What They’re Saying
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau believes Rose should come back when he feels healthy, according to ESPN Chicago.
The way I think is this: Only Derrick knows how he feels. So when Derrick feels like he can play, he'll play. If he feels like he can't, he won't. We're very confident that we have more than enough to win with. And somehow there's this notion out there that this team you should beat. Or that [team] ... it doesn't work like that in the NBA. [In] the NBA, every team is capable of beating you. So you've got to be ready every night. And whoever's ready to go, that's who you go with. That's what we're going to continue to do.
Bulls Player to Watch: C.J. Watson
In the absence of Rose, C.J. Watson has filled in quite nicely. He has scored 55 points in the past three games, including 23 against the Phoenix Suns.
Watson has averaged 10.8 points, four assists and two rebounds per game this season.
Bobcats Player to Watch: D.J. Augustin
There hasn’t been too much to be happy about with the Bobcats this season, but D.J. Augustin has turned into a really nice and formidable point guard in the NBA.
He leads the Bobcats in scoring (15.7), assists (7.2) and three-point percentage (35.1) with at least five attempts.
Key Matchup: Bobcats offense vs. Bulls defense
Charlotte holds one of the worst offenses in the NBA, scoring 91.1 points per game. Chicago’s defense is No. 1 in the league, allowing 85.1 per game.
Will the Bobcats be able to score against a tough, physical defense?
Prediction: Chicago 101, Charlotte 86
Chicago’s defense is the best in the NBA and Charlotte struggles to put the ball in the net. Another area where the Bobcats struggle is stopping teams from scoring. They are 30th in the league in points allowed per game.
The Bulls continue their winning ways in a 15-point blowout.