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Joakim Noah is likely to return to the lineup tonight. Noah, averaging a team high 11 rebounds and 12.1 points, has missed the past three games with a sprained right ankle. The bulls haven’t exactly been hurting without Noah, winning all three games in his absence. Carlos Boozer, who had been struggling, has played a lot better lately averaging 21.3 points and 10.7 rebounds in the past 3 games. I’m starting to wonder if Boozer plays better without Noah in the lineup for some reason, but that’s something that Carlos is going to have to figure out because come playoff time Joakim’s defense, rebounding, and toughness will be a huge key for the Bulls.

Phoenix has definitely struggled lately, dropping five of their last 6 games with the only win in that stretch coming at home against the woeful Clippers. These two teams haven’t matched up since the circus trip way back in November when Derrick Rose put together an MVP-type performance leading the Bulls back from a 23 point deficit to win in double OT. Rose had 35 points and 12 assists in that game. Steve Nash has missed the past two games with the flu and may or may not return for this game.

Stat of the Day:

Over the past five games Derrick Rose has averaged 29.4 points and 9.8 assists. MVP.

Probable Suns Starters:

G – Steve Nash, 15.3 ppg

G – Grant Hill, 13.1 ppg

F – Jared Dudley, 10.2 ppg

F – Channing Frye, 12.6 ppg

C – Marcin Gortat, 9.7 ppg

Probable Bulls Starters:

G – Derrick Rose, 25.1 ppg

G – Keith Bogans, 4.3 ppg

F – Luol Deng, 17.5 ppg

F – Carlos Boozer, 17.9 ppg

C – Joakim Noah, 12.11 ppg

Prediction:

Current Line: Chicago (-11), Over/Under 204

The Suns have really struggled lately and have a less than stellar home record. The Bulls, on the other hand, show no signs of slowing down and have been extremely good at home. Assuming the return of Noah doesn’t cause any major chemistry issues, which seems highly unlikely, I think the Bulls will win comfortably. This is a game where we could see Rose really thrive. I guess you can say that just about any game, but I’m not sure how that Phoenix defense can stop him.

Suns 88 Bulls 103