Derrick Rose takes the contact; Luol Deng getting better
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org January 23, 2013 1:24PM
The Chicago Bulls Luol Deng drives forward during the second quarter at the United Center in Chicago, Ill., on Saturday, January 12, 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 23, 2013 9:46PM
The daily Derrick Rose news was good on Wednesday, as the point guard had no setbacks from a Tuesday practice with “more contact.’’ Luol Deng remains a “game-time’’ decision for the meeting with the Pistons Wednesday night at the United Center, as the small forward was feeling “a little better,’’ recovering from a strained right hamstring.
Considering that Deng first suffered the injury in Toronto and they thought it healed enough to play him in Boston when he re-injured it, expect the team to be overly cautious in when they bring him back.
That means Jimmy Butler would likely be back with the starters, as the Bulls ride a 16-game win streak over Detroit into the meeting.
Keys to making 17-straight wins over the Pistons:
1. Let it go, Kirk – Point guard Kirk Hinrich scored a season-high 22 points in the win over the Lakers on Monday, shooting 9-of-11 from the field along the way. Detroit is a guard-heavy team, and the best way to keep the Pistons on their heels is making them work on defense. If Hinrich can keep the aggressiveness on offense up, it helps the Bulls on both sides of the ball.
“The game tells him when to shoot,’’ head coach Tom Thibodeau said of his floor leader. “The primary responsibility for the point guard is to run the team. So I want him to run the team, play great defense, and take the shots that are presented to him when he’s open after he’s run the team.
“Your primary scorers have the responsibility to read the defense, and when they are guarded one-on-one they should attack and score, and when the secondary defender comes hit the open man. What I don’t want [Hinrich] to do is pass on open shots, which I thought he was doing earlier in the year. When you do that often times it leads to taking a lesser shot or a poor shot, or being stuck at the end of the clock. He’s reading things a lot better. His focus has been on running the team smoothly and I think he’s doing that right now.’’
2. Butler did it – Second-year player Jimmy Butler is not only turning into a defensive stopper – aka “The Mamba Killer’’ – but continues to be a nightly highlight with his ability to play above the rim and pull down big rebounds. If the Bulls don’t have Deng for a third consecutive game it hurts, but Butler is slowly making that pain a bit more tolerable.
3. Noah’s night? - If there is a team to get Joakim Noah back on track it’s the Pistons. The center opened up the floodgates on Detroit in their first meeting, setting career highs in points with 30 and rebounds with 22. Noah attacked the boards well against the Lakers on Monday night, after an awful game against Memphis over the weekend, but he needs a breakout game offensively. The Pistons offer up a perfect opportunity for that.