The Bulls have looked mysteriously out of sync the last two games, and have lost badly to the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics. Now, it's no shame to lose to the best two teams in the conference, both off to 14-4 starts, but if the Bulls want to be contenders and not pretenders, they're going to have to start beating the big boys.
One way to do that is to start playing like "big boys" and winning the rebounding battles. The return of Carlos Boozer was supposed to help that; instead, the Bulls have been badly outrebounded in each of the last two games.
In addition, Derrick Rose, after having three straight games of 30+ points, has had 35 total the last two games and looked lost at times. That's not how the star of the team and floor leader had been through the first fifteen games, during which the Bulls went 9-6.
Nevertheless -- and you never want to assume anything in sports -- it should be a bit easier against the Houston Rockets at the United Center tonight. A win would maintain first place in the Central Division as they prepare to meet the Thunder at home on Monday.
Tonight's game begins at 7 p.m. CST and will be televised on WGN (local and national).