Bobcats-Bulls Preview

With Derrick Rose back, the Chicago Bulls will try to remain

perfect at home and keep the Charlotte Bobcats from matching their

longest road win streak in franchise history.

After shining in a victory over previously unbeaten Indiana,

Rose will also seek to lead the Bulls to their fifth consecutive

victory Monday night.

Rose was dealing with an injured hamstring before Saturday’s

visit from the perfect Pacers and unsure if he was going to play.

Not only was he on the court, he also scored a season-best 20

points and matched a career high with six 3-pointers in a 110-94

victory.

“This is my first time having a hamstring injury. I don’t know

how it would go if I had played last night. I don’t think I’d be

able to play tonight,” Rose said. “I just gave it a chance today.

It feels good. It feels the same way. It’s a little tight, but it’s

not stopping me.”

Luol Deng had a season-high 23 points and seven rebounds as the

Bulls improved to 4-0 at home. While trying to add to that mark,

Chicago (5-3) will try for its longest win streak since taking

eight in a row Feb. 20-March 7, 2012.

“Guys have a good rhythm. Everybody has been putting in extra

work after practice, late at night. It’s shown. I’m happy with our

progress,” forward Taj Gibson said of rebounding from a 1-3 start.

“We’re just focused on getting better. It’s early in the season. We

understand we’ve got a long way to go.”

The Bulls have won seven of eight over the Bobcats but split

their two home matchups last season. Charlotte (5-5) won 91-81 in

Chicago on Dec. 31 but fell 93-85 on Jan. 28 while finishing a

league-worst 6-35 on the road in 2012-13.

The Bobcats are halfway to matching that win total with their

current streak, their longest since a four-game run Jan. 18-28,

2011. The franchise also won four straight road games March

26-April 4, 2008, and Feb. 25-March 7, 2009.

Charlotte was denied a third straight overall victory Saturday

with a 97-81 loss to Miami. Charlotte shot a season-low 34.9

percent and couldn’t hold an opponent under 85 points for a third

straight game.

“We’ve got to keep on pushing,” said guard Kemba Walker, who had

a team-best 22 points. “I think we’ve been playing some great

basketball right now. It’s still early in the season. All we have

to do is keep looking forward and keep trying to get better.”

Jeffery Taylor reached double figures for the sixth time in

seven games, but he has a combined 13 points in three games against

the Bulls. Walker, meanwhile, averaged a team-best 21.0 points and

made 7 of 15 shots from 3-point range in last season’s series.

Deng is averaging 19.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in his last four

home games against Charlotte. Because of his lengthy absence due to

a knee injury, Rose hasn’t faced the Bobcats since March 9,

2011.

The former MVP, though, has averaged 23.6 points and 7.0 assists

in his last seven games against Charlotte.