[Thanks to Big D for today's game preview. - ed.]
The Bulls will try to even up their record on the road trip tonight when they face the Portland Trail Blazers (9:30 Central, ESPN & WGN).
On the national broadcast, the focus will probably be on the last two number one draft picks. It should be an interesting battle to watch, because Oden has managed to stay healthy for four games in a row and is playing well. He had 22 points and 10 boards last night, and caused Blazer fans to salivate over him the way we salivate over Rose. Of course, he may have just been excited over getting to face the Bulls' interior defense tonight. For better or worse, I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot of Aaron Gray tonight. Maybe he can go up to Joel Przybilla during a timeout and ask him how a stiff center manages to get a big contract.
On the other hand, the Blazers are also coming off of a loss last night. They were lit up by undrafted free agent Anthony Morrow. I haven't seen Morrow play yet this season, but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that he is not quite as explosive as Derrick Rose. Needless to say, Steve Blake and Sergio Rodriguez will not be able to stay with Rose, and if they try to put Brandon Roy on him than Gordon might be able to go off. This presents VDN with an interesting dilemma - Rose probably needs to play fewer minutes (especially since this is the second night of a back-to-back), but how can you afford to take him out?
Blogging With the Enemy:
As noted below, Deng may be out tonight. That puts even more pressure on Rose and Gordon; in fact, the entire offense tonight may come down to Rose and Gordon, along with Noc chucking up threes. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing Oden and Rudy Fernandez. The Blazers have the nucleus of a great team, but they desperately need a point guard. I can think of at least one point guard who might be available around the trade deadline . . .