Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 1/23/12

The Chicago Bulls have the best record in all the NBA at 15-3. They have a two and a half game lead in the Eastern Conference over Orlando, and only the 13-3 Oklahoma City Thunder have a winning percentage that comes close right now. The league’s reigning MVP Derrick Rose may not play tonight against Deron Williams and the 5-12 New Jersey Nets; he’ll be a game time decision. Luol Deng will sit out with a sprained left wrist. That means the Bulls, the team which had the best record in the NBA last year,  could be without their two best players.

Rose, who has seen his Bulls go 4-1 in the past five games without him, says the toe “is never going to be right this year.” But he “felt decent” during Monday’s shootaround. Deng’s injury issues may keep him out for awhile. Joakim Noah is questionable/probable, but will likely go tonight. Taj Gibson is out, and the injuries are piling up for Chicago. Deng hasn’t missed a game since March 30, 2010, so this ends a very significant streak.

Chicago is number one in the NBA in both scoring defense and rebounding margin. They are giving up just 85.3 points per game, and 74.3 at the United Center. The most recent title team, ’97-’98, holds the record for lowest points allowed per page by a Bulls team, and they’re about four ppg higher.

The Bulls are also third in the league in blocks in 6.28 per game, and set a franchise record for 16 blocks in a game a blowout on Friday night that gave the Cleveland Cavaliers their worst loss in home history.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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