Chicago Bulls (5-3) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (6-2)
The Bulls have done more than tread water with Derrick Rose out of the lineup. The 5-3 record says all you need to know about that. Balanced scoring has been Chicago's calling card so far this season.
The unlikely scorer though is Joakim Noah and his 16.0 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game. Noah is still known more as a scrapper and scavenger on offense. He will dig out offensive rebounds and get put backs. But Noah has shown some surprising range on his jumper and has been great as a cutter to the basket.
Noah is not your typical low-post scorer but he gets the job done.
That should make tonight's game against the Clippers that much more interesting. Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah have to deal with the big front line of DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin. That is not always easy to handle. But this front line matchup should provide plenty of intrigue.
Chicago will need support from its guards like Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich to counteract Los Angeles' depth in this one.
Other Storylines to Watch
-Jannero Pargo is available. And the Bulls have reached out to the veteran journeyman who always finds a way to stay in the NBA.
-The Clippers feature one of the deeper teams in the NBA. Consider that their top scorer is Jamal Crawford and he is coming off the bench and Grant Hill still has not played this season.
Tonight's Other Games
Toronto Raptors (2-6) vs. Boston Celtics (5-4)
Boston lost in Brooklyn without Rajon Rondo on Thursday. Boston was still pretty good in that game, but clearly needed Rondo. Or the team needed Paul Pierce to hit a couple of free throws late. Either way, Jason Terry should be able to run the team more effectively against Toronto at home in this matinee.
Utah Jazz (4-6) vs. Washington Wizards (0-7)
The Wizards are still in search for their first win. It has been a rough go for Washington without John Wall. Trevor Ariza is not quite an offensive leader and Bradley Beal is still learning how to play the NBA game. The growing pains will likely continue.
Memphis Grizzlies (7-1) vs. Charlotte Bobcats (4-3)
Memphis is on a seven-game win streak and should be feeling pretty good heading into this matchup with Charlotte. The Grizzlies better not be feeling too good. The Bobcats have proven themselves to be a much improved team with a young player in Kemba Walker feeling extremely confident.
Dallas Mavericks (5-5) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (2-6)
The Cavaliers young guard duo has not quite delivered as much as expected. Both Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters have played well, and so has Anderson Varejao, but it has not translated into wins yet. So while this bunch is still fun to watch, the Cavaliers might need some reinforcements. However, it does not look like Cleveland is searching the bargain bin quite yet.
New Orleans Hornets (3-5) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (5-2)
Did you know the Bucks are first place in the Central Division? Neither did I. Milwaukee has flown under the radar but this team is going to be interesting to watch progress. Or it might be a case of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings both being in a contract year.
Denver Nuggets (4-5) vs. San Antonio Spurs (7-2)
If you are looking for a track meet this might be a good one to watch. Both the Spurs and Nuggets like to get up and down the court. San Antonio is a little bit better executing in the half court. But seeing Tony Parker go up against Ty Lawson always features a level of excitement.
Miami Heat (7-3) vs. Phoenix Suns (4-6)
The Heat scored a strong win against the Nuggets on Thursday. Phoenix should be a nice way to wrap up this road trip. Not so fast thgouh. The Suns have a great point guard in Goran Dragic and a good post player in Luis Scola. Those two could give Miami problems. Of course, the Suns already got blown out by the Heat already this year.