The Other Side: Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls were a bit overwhelmed the last time they came to Washington last month. First, they became the first professional sports team to visit with President Barack Obama. Then the Baller-In-Chief grabbed a courtside seat, sipped on a beer, and watched his favorite basketball team get ambushed by an inspired Washington Wizards team that was determined to win over a new fan. Antawn Jamison even had a once-in-every-67-or-so-games highlight dunk as the Wizards blasted the Bulls, 113-90, on Feb. 27.
The loss continued a troubling trend for the Bulls, who lost seven consecutive road games before defeating Oklahoma City, 103-96, last Wednesday. Chicago hasn't defeated an Eastern Conference team on the road since winning in Indiana more than a month ago. The Bulls arrive in Washington today on the heels of a 117-109 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers that snapped a seven-game home winning streak that included wins over Boston, Houston and New Orleans.
Chicago has just a one-game lead over Charlotte for the eighth spot in the East, and they will surely be looking for payback against the Wizards, who have gone 2-11 since their last meeting. Here's what else you should know about the Bulls as they prepare to face the Wizards tonight at Verizon Center:
1. A Rose By Any Other Name Would Still Be ROY
Derrick Rose has been getting plenty of competition for Rookie of the Year from New Jersey's Brook Lopez, Memphis' O.J. Mayo and Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook in recent weeks. But Rose's team is closest to possibly making it to the postseason, which makes him the prohibitive favorite. The Bulls recently started a campaign push for Rose by creating www.DRoseROY.com. Rose has remained humble and continues to work on getting better. Rose could become just the eighth rookie in NBA history to average at least 16 points, 6 assists and 3.5 rebounds, joining Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Anfernee Hardaway, Damon Stoudamire, Allen Iverson, Steven Francis and Chris Paul. Johnson and Hardaway also made the playoffs as rookies.
2. Luol Deng Is Hurting (Again)
The Bulls' last game in Washington was also Luol Deng's last full game for the Bulls. The next night, Deng suffered a stress fracture in his right tibia in the Bulls' win against Houston. Deng has missed the past 10 games, but creates a problem for Coach Vinny Del Negro whenever he returns. Should he start? The Bulls are 5-5 and averaging 105 points in his absence. Deng was averaging just 14.1 points on 44.8 percent shooting, his worst production since his rookie season.
3. The Deadline Deal Is Working Out
The reason Deng's possible return creates a problem is because John Salmons, whom Chicago acquired from Sacramento along with Brad Miller at the trade deadline, is averaging 20.1 points since joining the team. He has averaged 28 points on 63.1 percent shooting in the last four games and matched his career-high with 38 points against Boston on March 17. Salmons and Miller, a former Bull, are adjusting well to Chicago. Miller is averaging 12.2 points and 7.7 rebounds -- off the bench! -- since joining the Bulls.
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Posted by: Izman | March 23, 2009 4:37 PM
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