Bobcats-Bulls Preview

Charlotte Bobcats Status Check:
Record: 7-53
Division: 1-12
Conference: 5-39
Home Record: 4-25
Last 10 Games: 0-10
Streak: Lost 17
Last game: 75-67 loss to New Orleans
PPG: 87.5 (30th)
Opponents PPG: 100.8 (27th)
Offensive Rating: 95.7 (30th)
Defensive Rating: 110.3 (30th)
Pace: 91.1 (17th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .442 (30th)
Turnover Percentage: .137 (16th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .708 (25th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .235 (27th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .205 (15th)
Opp. eFG%: .510 (28th)
Opp. TO%: .127 (26th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .211 (18th)
Leading scorer: Corey Maggette (15.0)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Charlotte Injury Report:
D.J. Augustin: questionable for tonight’s game (knee tendinitis)
DeSanga Diop: strained hamstring (out indefinitely)
Corey Maggette: strained Achilles (out for season)
Eduardo Najera: frontal lobe surgery (out for season)
Reggie Williams: expected to miss tonight’s game (concussion)

Overview:
The Bulls got their wake-up call last time out, falling to the lowly Washington Wizards. It was an ugly game that Chicago would probably like to forget, but maybe it was necessary to get their complacency out of the way. Their reward for losing to the second worst team in the league, is a match-up with the worst team in the league—Charlotte.

The Wizards aren’t a very good team. But the Bobcats are on their own level. Charlotte has lost 17 games in a row. Seventeen. They seem to be in prime “tank for Anthony Davis” mode.

They have won just seven games all season. Chicago had 15 wins in January, eleven in February and 13 in March. So had the Bulls played just in January, they would’ve doubled the Bobcats in wins.

Although the way the Bulls have been playing lately, it wouldn’t be too surprising if the Bobcats keep this one close. Chicago is 4-4 in April, averaging just 92.6 points per game.

All the Bulls had to against Washington was play a solid game, not even a good game, to beat the Wizards. Even without Luol Deng and Derrick Rose it shouldn’t have been too difficult. But they didn’t play well at all and they got beat. If the Bulls lose to Charlotte now, it will take the panic level up a few notches.

The Bulls need to keep winning, with Miami just 2.5 games back of them for the top seed in the East, and a match-up Thursday night in South Beach. The Bulls and Heat will both be going into that match-up on no rest (Miami plays the Raptors tonight). The Bulls are 12-5 with no rest this season, while Miami is 11-7.

With this in mind, Chicago will have to weigh what’s more important in their match up against Charlotte tonight. Is it the health of the team? If that’s the case Rose and Deng should probably sit again, with the rest of the starters getting fewer minutes.

If it’s the number one seed and chemistry between the probable playoff starters, then Rose, Deng, Hamilton, Boozer and Noah should get some time together.

It’s hard to measure which one is more important, especially with all of Rose’s problems this year. Someone must have a Derrick Rose voodoo doll that their dog is using as a chew toy; because that’s the only explanation for all of his random injuries (His most recent ailment was a foot injury). It’s starting to get too close for comfort with these injuries. If Rose can’t get healthy the Bulls won’t last long in the playoffs. But how far can they get if the starters have barely played together?

I’d like to see the starters play together tonight, which means Rose and Deng in the line-up. They are going to need to know how to work best together in the playoffs, and there are only five games left including tonight.

They don’t have to be out there long; take care of business and then rest for Thursday night. The Bulls crushed Charlotte in their most recent match-up, winning 95-64, and that was without Rose or Hamilton in the line-up.

Every Bull that played in that game recorded a positive plus/minus, while every Bobcat recorded a negative one. Chicago’s bigs led the way, with Joakim Noah going for 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Carlos Boozer added 16 points and six rebounds.

For Charlotte, only Derrick Brown scored in double digits (10 points), as the Bobcats shot a dismal 32.9 percent from the field.

The highest minutes total for a starter in that blowout was 31 for Noah. It can be both a chemistry building game and a resting game.

If the Bobcats don’t get another win this season, they will have the worst win percentage ever. This Bulls squad should not lose to a team that is arguably the worst in league history.

Chicago has a lot of problems to work out, and although now isn’t the most ideal time to face these issues, they still have five games before the playoffs, and winning them could minimize their worries. Their opponents get harder after tonight, so some positive play after two underwhelming performances is key for the Bulls.

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