One of the few positives from the team’s previous outing is the fact that several players stepped up, enabling the Bulls to hang around despite trailing by a double-digit margin during different stretches of the game.
Aside from Derrick Rose, Chicago will also be without the services of Kirk Hinrich (foot), Rip Hamilton (back) and Taj Gibson (sprained MCL). On the flip side of the coin, Tony Parker will be out of the Spurs lineup with an ankle injury.
The Bulls have lost nine of their last 12 games, and they suffered a 103-89 loss to the Spurs back in February. Despite their recent slide, the Bulls are capable of winning this game.
In order to pull off a win against the team with the best record in the league, the Bulls will need huge performances from these players:
Deng is the team’s leading scorer and is often responsible for guarding the opponent’s best player. Unfortunately, this often leads to games where he is hardly noticeable on the offensive end. If you are like me, then you know this cannot be the case against San Antonio. Deng did a good job of moving without the ball against the Pacers, which resulted in some easy scores and a few ferocious dunks. This will need to be a part of the Bulls offensive attack against a team that is defensively sound.
Boozer was just 3-of-9 from the floor against the Pacers and managed to grab only two rebounds. This simply will not be enough against the Spurs.
Boozer has shown the ability to be a presence in the low post and on the glass as well; if the Bulls are going to have a chance in this one, scoring in the paint is an absolute must.
As I have stated many times in the past, Boozer is the team's best player on the block, and he is as good as any forward in the game when he plays aggressively. That means no settling for the jump shots tonight, Mr. Boozer.
With Hamilton out, Belinelli will make his 16th start of the season. Belinelli was impressive against the Pacers, scoring 20 points and handing out five assists. If he is able to provide the team with similar numbers tonight, I like its chances.
"What about Joakim Noah?" you may ask. Well, I left him off the list purposely because he always brings energy and effort each night. That being said, I expect him to register a double-double when it's all said and done.
While this game will be a tough one to win for a short-handed Bulls team, if they are able to get solid contributions from the players mentioned above, along with quality minutes from the reserves, an unlikely win is certainly possible.