|2009/2010 NBA Season|
|January 2nd, 2010|
|Jameer Nelson||PG||Derrick Rose|
|Vince Carter||SG||Kirk Hinrich|
|Matt Barnes||SF||Luol Deng|
|Rashard Lewis||PF||Taj Gibson|
|Dwight Howard||C||Joakim Noah|
This year's Chicago Bulls squad, the Orlando Magic's opponent tonight, is probably most famous for blowing a 35-point lead to the Sacramento Kings at home and, to a more pervasive extent, having an embattled coach in Vinny Del Negro whose job is quite obviously not safe at all, despite management's protestations to the contrary. Thus, I was surprised to learn that Chicago has won 3 straight games and is a solid defensive team (11th in efficiency, 8th in effective in effective field goal defense, 3rd in free throw rate defense). Yet to no one's surprise in the wake of losing Ben Gordon to free agency, they're a putrid offensive unit, with few reliable inside shooters and no low-post presence who can create a shot for himself. Joakim Noah compensates for that lack a bit by feasting on offensive rebounds to create scores, so maybe it's not all bad. But still, the Bulls aren't exactly a fear-inducing team.
That was the case last February, which marked the Magic's last visit to Chicago, where the Bulls summarily ran them out of the building. Take nothing for granted, especially not the health of Jameer Nelson's left knee. Can it hold up on the second night of a back-to-back? Will Orlando come out with energy and purpose, or instead let an inferior team just hang around before flipping the switch? These are the things to watch tonight.