Bulls hope to have Rose in New Orleans

The best from the NBA's Eastern Conference meets the worst game road trip against the lowly Hornets in New Orleans.

The Bulls won their third straight contest and improved to 4-2 on the trek with a 108-87 blowout win over the New Jersey Nets on Monday. Chicago shot 55.6 percent from the floor, made nine three-pointers and went 19-of-23 from the foul line en route to the easy win.

The news wasn't all good for the Bulls, however, who lost star guard Derrick Rose in the second quarter to lower back spasms. The reigning MVP had just four points in nearly 11 minutes of action before leaving.

Carlos Boozer led the way with 24 points, six rebounds and five assists for Chicago, which improved to 21-6 on the season. Luol Deng added 19 points.

"We're a good team. If I play or if I don't play, I know that we're going to go out there, compete and play hard every single second when we're out there," said Rose.

Rose is listed as questionable tonight and wants to play but the Bulls may consider resting him against a poor New Orleans team, which has dropped 21 of 23 games since starting the season 2-0. Rose's running mate in the backcourt, Rip Hamilton, is also questionable with a nagging groin problem.

The Bulls, who are 12-5 as the visitor, will finish their lengthy trip with visits to Charlotte and Boston before returning to the Windy City for six-game residency.

Things continue to go south for the Hornets, who dropped the opener of a four- game homestand to Sacramento on Monday. New Orleans had five players in double figures in the 100-92 setback led by Greivis Vasquez's 20 points and nine assists.

Emeka Okafor had 19 points and Chris Kaman added a 10-point, 12-rebound double-double in his first game since January 23 for a Hornets team that has dropped six straight and 15 of 16.

"Give them credit," said Hornets head coach Monty Williams. "They came out with more intensity. We gave up 61 points in a half after holding them to 39 points in the first half. It's a tale of two halves once again, and down the stretch in the fourth quarter, we can't pull the game out."

Part of New Orleans' problems stem from injuries. High-scoring guard Eric Gordon remains out with a balky right knee, capable big Carl Landry is sidelined due to a sprained left knee, guard Jarrett Jack has been wrestling with a sore left and knee and center Jason Smith is struggling with concussion related symptoms.

The Hornets, who are just 2-12 in the Big Easy, will also face Portland and Utah on their residency.

The Bulls have won six straight over New Orleans.