San Antonio Spurs vs. Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose, Bulls Try to Prove Themselves

Andrew RostenContributor IIFebruary 17, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 15: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls goes up to shoot past Stephen Jackson #1 of the Charlotte Bobcats at the United Center on February 15, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Bobcats 106-94. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Before the game, Derrick Rose and Tom Thibodeau were asked if tonight's game against the Spurs could be seen as a statement game.
Rose said yes; Thibodeau, no.
If the Bulls win, a statement will be made. It will read as such: The Bulls are title contenders—look out.

This year, whenever the so-called experts predict who will go to the NBA Finals, they usually choose the Boston Celtics or the Miami Heat as the Eastern Conference representative.

The Chicago Bulls, however, can be seen as a dangerous darkhorse candidate.

The Western Conference leading Spurs enter the United Center tonight. By beating them, Chicago can solidify themselves as a serious title contender.

Rose has put on an MVP-type season for the Bulls, averaging 24.5 points and 8.2 assists per game. He has led his team to the Eastern Conference's third-best record (37-16) and best home record (24-4).

And this has all been done without Joakim Noah, who won't return to the lineup until at least late February due to a broken thumb.

When he returns, and if the Bulls can pull off the upset tonight, look out.
This article can also be seen on Drew Rosten's Sports Thread. Check out the Sports Thread for quarter-by-quarter analysis of the Spurs-Bulls game.