ORLANDO, FLA. He knows the track record and a bruised left elbow doesnt help matters, but dont expect Derrick Rose to do anything different when he drives to the hole and faces imposing Magic center Dwight Howard on Friday night.
Im still going to attack, go to the hole, Rose said after the Bulls morning shootaround. Theres no change.
Rose has been taken down by the All-Star big man and three-time reigning league Defensive Player of the Year twice in the past -- and subsequently was forced to miss time due to injuries suffered on the mid-air collisions -- but although he has no plans to alter his game, he is aware of Howards presence.
Im a drive-first guy, but when you play him, youve definitely got to know that hes going to contest everything, he said.
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau preferred to focus on how his team would guard Howard.
He commands so much attention and he plays so unselfishly that thats really what opens up their three-point game. Hes very difficult to guard. You cant guard him one-on-one, said the coach. You need your team help and you have to make multiple effort against him, but you have to be able to get out and challenge their threes.
Thibodeau is also wary of the Magics dangerous supporting cast.
Theyve got a lot of weapons, said Thibodeau, who cited sharpshooting forwards Hedo Turkoglu and Ryan Anderson, as well as shooting guards Jason Richardson and J.J. Redick as players the Bulls would have to focus on. Theyre a deep team and theyre a good team. Theyre a well-balanced team, they play great defense, they share the ball offensively, so its going to be a tough matchup for us.
Roses point-guard counterpart, Jameer Nelson, is another Orlando player Thibodeau considers underrated.
Hes a fierce competitor and all the guy has done is win his whole life, he lauded. He can shoot the ball, he makes unselfish plays, hes tough, can create havoc getting into the paint.
Thibodeau is familiar with one of the Magics offseason acquisitions, power forward Glen Davis. Thibodeau coached Davis, who has gotten off to an uneven start with his new team, with the Celtics.
I think hes fine. Hell figure it out. Hes a really good player. Hes a great defensive player, both individually and as a team defender. He can hit spot-up shots, post up some, he said. He gives them a different look. You have Howard and Davis up front, a very physical presence.
Although Rip Hamilton is still getting comfortable with his new squad, the Bulls shooting guard is well aware of what Orlando brings to the table, having battled the Magic for several seasons as a member of the Pistons.
Ive been playing against them for years, said Hamilton, who is a game-time decision because of a groin injury. Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy has done a great job with them, Dwight has been awesome every year.
Following the Bulls shootaround, Thibodeau chatted with Van Gundys brother Jeff, his former boss with both the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets.