Stephen Jackson could return from injury tonight as the Bobcats (26-37) will prepare to host the streaking Bulls (44-18). Chicago holds a three game winning streak and has won ten of their last twelve games but is only 1-2 on the season against Charlotte as they will look to even up the season series tonight in Charlotte.
Derrick Rose has probably made the best case for league MVP up to this point in the season as he is averaging 24.5 points and 9.2 assists per game, just silly numbers for the third year player out of Memphis. This year Rose has looked close to unstoppable as his overall game has evolved dramatically. His ability to break down defenses with his sick crossover and explosive first step makes him almost impossible to defend but where Derrick Rose has really been able to separate himself from the rest of the point guards in the league this season is in his improved jump shot. Rose is no longer a player that defenses can just allow to take open shots because he has the ability to hurt you from the outside now as well. Rose’s evolving skill set has made him arguably the toughest guy in the NBA to defend and the Bobcats will have their hands full once again tonight trying to slow him down.
The most effective way to slow down a player like Rose is to clog the paint and force him to take on more than one defender when he does attempt to penetrate. I guess you could say the Bobcats have done a decent job against Rose in three games so far this season as he’s averaging numbers just shy of his season average:
Rose vs. Charlotte 2010-2011
3 GP 22.7 PPG 8.0 APG 3.3 RPG
Tyrus Thomas has missed 23 straight games due to knee surgery and was thought to possibly have a chance to return tonight but it was reported this morning that he had a setback in a shoot around and will be out tonight vs the Bulls, making it 24 straight missed games. Stephen Jackson on the other hand is expected to play tonight and can hopefully supply some production to the deflated Charlotte offense.
The Bobcats loss at home to the Clippers on Monday night could very well have been the official sign that points to the fact that the season is slipping away but the Pacers keep losing as well and somehow Charlotte remains only one game out of the final playoff spot. The return of Jackson and Thomas will probably be the only factor that can save the Bobcats hopes but the wins must start coming now and they must start coming fast.