Chicago hopes to remain Bull-ish at home vs. Nets
The banged-up Chicago Bulls look to stay perfect at home when they entertain the New Jersey Nets tonight from the United Center.
The Bulls have been plagued by injuries this season and reigning MVP Derrick Rose is one of the several casualties. Rose is bothered by a nagging toe injury and has missed the last four games, but the Bulls are 3-1 in that span. Rose is doubtful for tonight's game, while Joakim Noah (ankle) and John Lucas III (groin) are questionable and Luol Deng (wrist) is probable Monday.
"We'd like to be healthy, but we do a good job of stepping up when we have guys out," said Carlos Boozer, who finished with 23 points and nine rebounds in Saturday's win over Charlotte. "We have a lot of guys that can play on this team. I think we're the deepest team in the league."
Richard Hamilton scored 20 points and C.J. Watson had 11 points and nine assists for the Bulls, who kicked off a four-game homestand in winning fashion and are 7-0 as the host this season. Chicago has won three straight overall and eight of its last nine games, and its 7-0 start at home is the best since the 1996-97 squad turned the trick. Dating back to last season, the Bulls are 43-5 at the United Center.
The Bulls boast the league's best record at 15-3 and will also welcome the Pacers and Bucks to the Windy City. Chicago's 15-3 record is its best start since 1996-97 team opened the campaign with a 17-1 ledger. Hamilton needs 20 points to reach the 15,000-point mark in his career for the Bulls, who have held their opponents to less than 100 points in 14 of its first 18 games.
New Jersey will kick off a three-game road trip tonight against the Bulls, Sixers and Cavs, and is 3-7 away from home this season. It just went 2-1 on a three-game residency and capped the homestand with Sunday's 97-87 victory over the Bobcats thanks to MarShon Brooks' game-high 20 points.
Deron Williams totaled 19 points and 10 assists for the Nets, who have split their last six games and got 19 points from Anthony Morrow.
"We're making strides," Williams said. "Our schedule has probably been one of the toughest in the NBA."
Kris Humphries posted eight points and a game-high 10 rebounds for New Jersey, which won the battle of the boards by a 47-34 margin and shot a decent 44.2 percent from the field.
The Nets lost three of four meetings with Chicago a season ago and is winless in its last three trips to the Second City.