Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls got back on track on Thursday night, as they dispatched the Sacramento Kings 108-98, but have a very quick turnaround against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night. Rose bounced back strong after a tough game against the Golden State Warriors by cranking out 19 points on 7-14 shooting to go with 8 assists versus the Kings in a game the Bulls controlled from beginning to end. Now they turn their attention to a highly touted Clippers team featuring Blake Griffin and newly-acquired star point guard Chris Paul. After falling flat on their face on the back end of their first back-to-back this season, everyone will be looking to see if it becomes a trend for Rose and Bulls now. This is also the regular season home opener for the Clippers, so everything seems to be working against the Bulls on paper.
This is an intriguing matchup on many levels, including the fact that it marks the opportunity to cross paths with former Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro, who has stumbled into a gold mine of talent and potential out in LA despite his lack of coaching experience. The other obvious point of interest would be the matchup between Derrick Rose and Chris Paul, which is highlighted by the staff at Clips Nation:
Defending Rose. I really don't have much feel for how Chris Paul will do defending Rose. He's giving away size, but he should be as good as anyone at keeping him out of the lane, which is the key. Paul and Rose have met head to head four times in their careers, and Paul has the statistical edge in those meetings - but Chicago is 4-0 in those games. That's correct - Chris Paul has never defeated Derrick Rose in an NBA game.
Everyone will be watching to see if the Bulls defense can stop the high-flying Clippers attack that has been dubbed Lob City, so keep an eye on how well the Bulls bigs keep Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan confined to the perimeter on offense.
Game day/time: Friday, Dec. 30, 2011, 9:30 p.m. CT
Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: NBA-TV, WGN-Ch. 9
For updates on the matchup, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage, visit Blog a Bull and Clips Nation. And for more news and notes from around the NBA, head over to SB Nation's NBA news hub.