(WSCR) – Derrick Rose and John Wall, two of the last three overall No. 1 picks, face each other for the first time Saturday night at the United Center. Despite Rose’s scoring ability, his defense against John Wall might be more important for the Bulls.
By JEFF MEZYDLO
(AP) — It took two seasons for Chicago’s Derrick Rose to establish himself as one of the top point guards in the NBA.
Washington rookie John Wall has the potential to follow the same path.
Two of the last three overall No. 1 picks meet for the first time Saturday night at the United Center when the Bulls try for a fourth straight home win over the Wizards.
Rose, the first overall pick in 2008, made his first All-Star team on the way to averaging 20.8 points and 6.0 assists in 2009-10. The Chicago native has been even better this season, averaging 23.6 points and 9.7 assists.
He had 22 and 13 assists for his third double-double of the season in Chicago’s 120-90 win over a tired Golden State team Thursday. Rose and Luol Deng, who had 26 points and 11 rebounds, combined for 39 points in the first half as the Bulls (4-3) shot 54.8 percent and set a season high for points.
“We want to play fast. It works to our advantage,” forward Joakim Noah told the Bulls’ official website. “We can be a dangerous team when we play uptempo like that. It’s a good fit for us.”
The Bulls have a chance to do that against a Washington club that’s allowed 104.1 points per contest this season. The Wizards have given up 112.0 a game while losing three in a row at the United Center.
Rose has averaged 27.7 points on 50 percent shooting in his last three games against Washington. He had 37 in a 121-119 double-overtime victory in the teams’ last meeting in Chicago on Jan. 15.
However, Rose’s greatest value Saturday could be his defense against Wall.
“I love matchups,” Rose said. “Of course he’s a rookie, but it should be a fun matchup.”
Averaging 18.4 points and 10.3 assists for the Wizards (2-5), Wall recorded his first triple-double with 19 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds in Wednesday’s win over Houston. He wasn’t nearly as dominant with 13 points and 11 assists in a 93-85 loss to Charlotte on Friday.
The former Kentucky star went 6 for 16 from the field and had two layups blocked.
Still, Wall has a double-double in four of his first seven games. He had nine assists before halftime Friday, giving him at least seven assists in each game. Oscar Robertson was the last rookie to have that kind of start, with 10 in a row in 1960.
Wall looks to help Washington bounce back and win for the first time on the road after starting 0-3 away from home. None of his double-doubles have come on the road.
“We’re young, and we’re going to have to learn,” said veteran guard Gilbert Arenas, averaging 10.3 points in four games coming off the bench. “It’s still the learning process.”
Washington guard Kirk Hinrich returns to Chicago where he spent the previous seven seasons. The ex-Bulls captain averaged 13.4 points and 5.8 assists with Chicago before the team traded him to Washington in July.
Averaging 11.4 points this season, Hinrich had 14 and eight assists in Friday’s loss.
Chicago hopes for a perfect three-game homestand before heading out on its annual “Circus Trip,” which starts Tuesday in Houston and features seven games in 12 days.
Updated November 13, 2010
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