NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 17th (All times eastern)
Phoenix Suns (4-8) at Chicago Bulls (12-3), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A day after getting routed in Memphis without Derrick Rose, the Bulls will get right back to work by hosting a floundering Phoenix club in the Second City.
Rose, the reigning NBA MVP, was a late scratch in Monday's 102-86 setback on Beale Street thanks to a sprained toe.
The dynamic guard's status is unknown for tonight's contest as Chicago attempts to improve to 6-0 at the United Center for the first time since taking its first seven games there during the 1996-97 season, the fifth of six title-winning teams during the Michael Jordan-era.
Rose, who is averaging team highs of 20.8 points and 8.7 assists, initially suffered the injury on Jan. 10 against Minnesota and missed the following night's game against Washington. He returned for two contests at Boston on Friday and Toronto on Saturday before suffering a flare-up.
"I went out there to shoot and was a little more sore than usual and decided to sit out," said Rose. "I was mad, but hopefully it'll get better. If it's up to me, I want to play tomorrow (against Phoenix)."
John Lucas and C.J. Watson split time at point guard against the Grizzlies in Rose's absence and recorded four turnovers apiece. Chicago, which lost for the first time in six games, posted 19 total turnovers and was just 1-of-12 from beyond the arc.
Luol Deng led the Bulls with 20 points and six rebounds while Watson added 17 points and Taj Gibson has 16 and three blocks.
The Suns, meanwhile, come in on a four-game skid after dropping the opener of a five-game road trip on Sunday in San Antonio, 102-91.
Marcin Gortat paced Phoenix with 24 points and 15 boards. Steve Nash added 20 points and 10 assists despite battling a bruised right quadriceps.
"Playing against Tim Duncan is a huge challenge," said Gortat. "He is one of the best post guys in the history of the NBA."
The Suns have struggled to an 1-4 clip on the road this season and will finish the difficult trek with visits to New York, Boston and Dallas.
Chicago has taken five of its last six contests with Phoenix.
01/17 10:37:22 ET