The Bulls are going to have to make do without one of the NBA's leading rebounders, Joakim Noah, for a couple of months while he recovers from hand surgery. They had to make it without Carlos Boozer for the first 15 games of the season and weathered a tough schedule with a 9-6 record in those games; since Boozer's return the Bulls have gone 7-2 and fortunately for them, they are now entering a fairly easy stretch where they really only have two tough games in the next four weeks or so.Taj Gibson will take many of Noah's minutes over the time where he's out, but Omer Asik will also get some time and Luol Deng will rotate into a power forward position when needed.
It may sound boastful, but the Bulls really should win tonight's game with ease. The Clippers, to put it bluntly, are awful. Their 6-21 record includes a 1-11 mark on the road -- their only road win coming last night in Detroit against the equally woeful Pistons. The Clippers rank 22nd in the league in points per game and... well, let's just say it would be a major upset if they won. It's also a reunion with former Bulls coach Vinny del Negro, now coaching in LA.
The top-to-bottom spread in the NBA seems to get wider every year. There are eight teams (Bulls, Magic, Celtics, Lakers, Thunder, Mavericks, Spurs and Jazz) who have won at least two-thirds of their games, and seven (Clippers, Nets, Cavaliers, Wizards, Pistons, Timberwolves and Kings) who have lost two-thirds. That could make almost half of matchups every day in the league blowouts. Good for Bulls fans, who are in that top group -- not so much for fans of the bad teams, who almost never see their team win.
Tonight's game begins at 7 p.m. CST and will be televised by WGN (Chicago only).