Stopping Rose a focal point for opposition

NEW ORLEANS -- Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose knows there is a target on his back by the opposition, and he enjoys that challenge every night.

"I take a lot of pride in that," Rose said before Saturday morning's shootaround. "Knowing that I've got people worried about me. You can just tell the way people play. I look at the previous game, they probably don't play that hard. Then go into the night [against the Bulls] they're playing as hard as they could, just ballin'. So it made me change the way I play a little bit, where I've got to be aggressive throughout the whole game, no matter who we're playing, so it's changed a little."

Rose is having an MVP-caliber season, averaging 25 points, eight assists and four rebounds a night. He knows he has elevated his game this season to another level, and he can feel that teams are starting to play him differently because of it.

"You can tell by the defense people play," Rose said. "The coverages they run, like pick and roll and isolations. Sometimes, I see what Kobe [Bryant] sees all the time or Carmelo [Anthony] sees all the time because they're sending a third person over, so that you can move the ball."

The Bulls complete a five-game road trip on Saturday night when they face off against the New Orleans Hornets and All-Star point guard Chris Paul. It's the culmination of a tough couple of weeks for Rose, who has faced a tough matchup seemingly every night. Los Angeles Clippers guard Baron Davis, Golden State Warriors guards Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis, Portland Trail Blazers guard Andre Miller and Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams are just a few of the players he has had to deal with over the past two weeks.

"It's fun going against everyone," Rose said. "It makes you come out here and play hard every night, try to play hard every night. If not, you're going to get embarrassed. So that's why I love playing this sport right now because it's a point guard league now."