Derek Rose Battles Dwight Howard in Orlando Tonight: Bulls vs. Magic
Derrick Rose may not be averaging 30 a game or registering 12 assists, but what he is doing is winning. Heading into Orlando to take on the modern day version of Superman, Dwight Howard, he will encounter the same beast, winners.
Rose has helped Chicago (6-1) to its best start since winning 12 of 13 to open the 1996-97 season. He had 17 points and 10 assists Wednesday in the team’s fifth straight victory, 99-83 in Detroit.
Rose banged his left elbow on the floor after a drive to the basket late in the fourth quarter. He stayed in the game but had the elbow wrapped afterward, and told reporters an X-ray was negative.
The Bulls are hoping that some rest will enable Rose to help them add to their strong start with a fourth straight win over the Magic (5-2). In the previous matchup between the teams April 10 in Orlando, the point guard had 39 points while making 13 of 17 shots.
Magic star center Dwight Howard missed that game due to a suspension for his 18th technical foul of the season, but the Bulls still needed to hold Orlando to five points over the final 2:47 to secure a 102-99 victory.
Howard enters this game after recording a season-high 28 points on 11-of-13 shooting and pulling down 20 rebounds in a 103-85 rout of visiting Washington on Wednesday.
Ryan Anderson contributed 23 points and 15 boards as the Magic bounced back from an 89-78 loss in Detroit two nights earlier — its sixth game in nine days — and improved to 4-0 at home.
Anderson had a career-high 28 points and 10 rebounds while filling in at center for his All-Star teammate during the April 10 defeat. Howard had 40 points in one of last season’s losses to Chicago, and the Magic have dropped the last three meetings when he’s scored at least 20.
The Magic are still looking for the backcourt duo of Jameer Nelson and Jason Richardson to get on track. This will be no easy feat against the stiff perimeter defense of the Bulls.
The Bulls are hoping Luol Deng can bounce back from a rough night. Deng, who scored two points and missed 5 of 6 shots Wednesday, has averaged 19.0 points on 56.1 percent shooting in his last three matchups with Orlando.
Carlos Boozer, meanwhile, will try to build on a season-high, 19-point effort. The Bulls big man, though, averaged 11.3 points last season against Orlando, his second-lowest against an Eastern Conference team.
This game could live up to all the emotion and fight of a playoff game, quite a fan treat for a normal Friday night. Enjoy!