ORLANDO, Fla. --- Stan Van Gundy wasn't overly relieved to know that Derrick Rose wouldn't play against the Magic on Monday night, which says a lot about how backups C.J. Watson and John Lucas III have played in his absence this season.
"They've just beaten Philly an Miami without Derrick Rose so we certainly can't expect anything other than a great opponent out there tonight. They've played really well without him. They really have. Their point guards have done a good job, Watson and Lucas. They've different. They're not the attackers [Rose] is but they can both shoot the hell out of the ball and make plays on pick and rolls.
"[Carlos] Boozer has been tremendous, so has Deng, they run more catch-and-shoot for Kyle Korver. They find their way around it and base their game on what they do on the defensive end anyway. Their defense, more than anything, is based around [Luol] Deng and their bigs, their front-line guys, so their defense doesn't really suffer at all."
With Rose out for a fourth straight game because of a groin injury, Watson started. He had 20 points in Saturday night's win over the 76ers at the United Center despite a twisted ankle that has robbed him of his quickness and mobility. Lucas scored 24 points in a win over Miami last week.
"If he wasn't capable of playing we wouldn't be playing him," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said of Watson. "He's nicked up. He's playing through it, which we certainly respect."