The Bulls didn't miss a beat with guard Kirk Hinrich in the starting lineup for 2 easy victories over Detroit and Miami. But coach Vinny Del Negro plans to return rookie Derrick Rose to a starting role today against Indiana.
Rose missed his first game of the season on Tuesday against the Pistons with a bruised right wrist. He returned Thursday to log 30 minutes off the bench, contributing 9 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds against Miami. He even knocked down a couple of 20-foot jumpers.
If the Bulls can extend their United Center dominance today against the Pacers, they would record their first four-game win streak in two years. The Bulls are 9-1 at home since the all-star break, while Indiana is just 10-28 on the road this season.
"I think this is easily one of the best places to play in the league when we're playing our best and the fans really rally behind us," guard Ben Gordon said. "The more winning we have, the more fun it is."
>Noah learns new move: Joakim Noah credited teammate Brad Miller for inspiring the move that created a drive and wide-open dunk for Noah in the third quarter of Thursday's win over Miami.
"I faked a pass and got the dunk," Noah explained. "That was something that Brad does all the time - he always fakes the handoff. He's so slow, but he gets to the basket all the time. I feel like I'm learning from him. His craftiness is unbelievable because there's not a lot of players that play like Brad."
Deng progresses slowly: Luol Deng stepped off the weightless treadmill following Friday's practice at the Berto Center and promptly swished a 20-foot jumper. But he's not close to resuming basketball activity due to a stress fracture in his right shin.
"When it happened, I knew I wasn't going to wake up the next day and it's all better," Deng said. "I tried to run on the floor a little bit and couldn't push off the way I'd like to. It's getting better, but it's not going to get better that quickly."
Deng said he's still hoping to play before the end of the season, but he hasn't seen game action since Feb. 28.