Derrick Rose has already faced the defending World Champions and one of the league's most dominant big men on the road.
Now he'll get a shot at a fellow No. 1 overall pick and arguably the NBA's most dynamic player as the Chicago Bulls look for their first road victory of the season on Wednesday night against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After scoring a team-best 18 points at Boston on Friday and a game-high 26 against Memphis on Saturday, Rose had the least productive game of his brief NBA career on Monday in Orlando with 14 points and only one assist.
"He's going to have some bumps in the road because all rookie point guards do, but we'll just keep working with him and he'll mature every game," Chicago first-year coach Vinny Del Negro said following the Bulls' 96-93 loss.
Rose, who leads Chicago with 17.3 points per game, pulled the Bulls (2-2) within 93-90 with 54 seconds left by sinking a short jumper.
But after Orlando's Rashard Lewis hit 3-of-4 from the foul line in the final 23 seconds, Andres Nocioni missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer as Chicago almost erased a 17-point third-quarter deficit.
"That was a good comeback," Rose told the Bulls' official Web site. "We showed heart out there. We are a young team and we are trying to get to know each other and play with each other. For us to go out there and come back like that really showed good signs."
Nocioni had season-highs with 20 points and seven rebounds, Gordon scored 17 and Drew Gooden had 21 points in addition to guarding Dwight Howard.
"It is a huge load guarding Dwight," Gooden said. "I think he is applying himself as a dominant center in this league. It was a team effort and there is only so much a man can do. He is a great basketball player."
That's a typical description of James, although the 2007-08 scoring champ was averaging just 19.7 points heading into Monday's game at Dallas. James had 29 points and eight rebounds in the Cavaliers' 100-81 victory over the Mavericks, but was on the bench as Mo Williams scored nine and had two assists during a 13-0 run to open the fourth quarter.
"We took a stand," said James, who made just 8-of-20 shots from the field with only three assists. "When they tied it up, we buckled down and worked defensively. Then we made some shots. I didn't shoot the ball particularly well, like I know I can. I was in attack mode all night, but I missed some shots I know I can make."
Williams and Delonte West scored 14 points apiece, Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Ben Wallace added 13 rebounds.
"It's a nice win, a good way to close out the road trip," said James, who has averaged 27.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists in 10 career home games against Chicago.
Cleveland (2-2) plays five of its next six at home - the Cavaliers' road game during this stretch is Saturday at Chicago. The Bulls won three of four meetings with Cleveland in 2007-08 by an average of 6.3 points.
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