For the first and only time this season, Derrick Rose leads the Bulls (28-8) into San Antonio to take on Tony Parker and the Spurs. The Spurs are red hot as of late as it seems they have found the fountain of youth. Winning 12 of the last 13 games, San Antonio is leading the Southwest division with a 24-10 record. They are three and a half games ahead of their Texas rivals, the Rockets and the defending Champion Mavericks.
The projected starting lineups are as follows,
Point Guard: Derrick Rose, Tony Parker
Shooting Guard: Ronnie Brewer, Gary Neal
Small Forward: Luol Deng, Richard Jefferson
Power Forward: Carlos Boozer, Tim Duncan
Center: Joakim Noah, DeJuan Blair
Look for the Bulls to try to push the tempo against the aging Spurs, and for Derrick Rose to continue to dominate. In his last three games against the Spurs, according to Espn, he is averaging 34.0 points per game including a regular season career high, 42 points, on February 17 of last year.
If the Bulls maintain high pressure on the offensive side and the defense is normal Bulls, lockdown defense, Chicago should not have a problem against the Spurs.
With Manu Ginobili and T.J Ford out, Tony Parker will surely be the driving force for the veteran Spurs. Parker, is averaging 23.0 points per game in the last three home games against the Bulls (ESPN.com), but watch out for the Spurs big men as well. Look for former NBA Coach of the Year, Gregg Popvich, to go to Duncan early to try to establish a post presence. Blair and Tiago Splitter should also be factors in the paint. Although not quite household names, both players are having productive seasons thus far.
Ultimately, the Bulls need production from Boozer and Deng to take some of the scoring load off of Derrick. Also look for Richard Hamilton to get some minutes off the bench, or possibly in the starting lineup if reigning Coach of the Year, Tom Thibodeau so chooses.
All-Star point guards Rose and Parker will certainly put on a show in San Antonio tonight, but the Bulls are certainly capable of coming out victorious.
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