Bobcats-Bulls Preview

Charlotte Bobcats Status Check:
Record: 7-23
Division: 2-5
Conference: 5-9
Road Record: 2-11
Last 10 Games: 0-10
Streak: Lost 18
Last game: 98-95 loss to New Orleans
PPG: 95.6 (20th)
Opponents PPG: 104.5 (30th)
Offensive Rating: 102.2 (24th)
Defensive Rating: 111.8 (30th)
Pace: 92.2 (12th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .458 (29th)
Turnover Percentage: .130 (5th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .699 (29th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .272 (16th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .231 (5th)
Opp. eFG%: .519 (29th)
Opp. TO%: .130 (23rd)
Opp. FT/FGA: .196 (10th)
Leading scorer: Kemba Walker (18.1)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Bobcats Injury Report:
Byron Mullens: out (sprained ankle)
Tyrus Thomas: out (torn ligament in calf)

Overview:
The Bulls snapped their two-game losing streak with a victory over the NBA’s worst team, but it was far from a convincing win. Chicago gets another chance to turn things around against one of the league’s bottom feeders as it takes on the Bobcats, who have lost 18 straight games. Chicago went from playing the league’s worst offensive team (Washington) to playing the league’s worst defense (Charlotte) today.

The Bulls’ defense played well against Washington, holding the league’s lowest scoring team eleven points below their average, but Chicago couldn’t get anything going on the other end. The Bulls shot 39.1 percent from the field and finished with only 87 points. Only three starters managed to get in double figures and it took Carlos Boozer 12 shots to get to 15 points and Luol Deng 13 shots to get to eleven points.

Marco Belinelli was the high-scorer for the Bulls, dropping 17 points off the bench. Rip Hamilton scored nine points in his return to the Bulls, after missing 12 games. It was good to see Belinelli made the transition back to the bench well. Marco started the year slowly, but started playing much better in the starting line-up. If he can add 15 points off the bench per game, that would be an enormous addition.

The big difference between the Bulls and Wizards was turnovers. Chicago turned the ball over just nine times, and Washington scored nine points off those turnovers, but the Bulls scored 19 points off of 17 Wizards’ turnovers.

Chicago should be able to score more points tonight, against the league’s worst defensive squad. Charlotte ranks last in opponent points per game (104.5) and defensive rating (111.8). They also rank next-to-last in opponent field goal percentage (.519), defensive rebounding percentage (.699) and effective field goal percentage (.458). Let me do some math quickly…yup just as I thought. All these numbers add up to 18 straight losses.

Charlotte hasn’t won a game since November 24, an overtime win against the Wizards. The Bobcats have actually had a tough schedule over that stretch playing the Thunder, Knicks, Spurs, Clippers, Hawks, Lakers, Warriors and Heat, but also lost to the Magic and Hornets during their streak.

The Bobcats are just 2-11 on the road, and this is their last chance to avoid going winless in the month of December.

They almost got their first win in more than a month against New Orleans, building a 21 point lead in the first half. But they eventually fell 98-95 to the Pelicans. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist did everything he could to get the win, recording 22 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. Kemba Walker dropped 15 points to go with nine assists, while Gerald Henderson scored 19.

The Bobcats shot 49.4 percent to the Hornets 42.7 and scored 58 points in the paint to New Orleans’ 32. They also had 27 fast-break points, while the Hornets had zero. New Orleans went 11-24 from beyond the arc to help them pick up the slack in other areas, and pull off the victory.

The Bulls haven’t been playing well lately. Their last good game was ten days ago against the Knicks. Since then they got blown out by the Hawks and Rockets, and played poorly in a win against the league’s worst team. Chicago has games against the Heat, Bucks, Knicks, Hawks, Celtics, Grizzlies, Lakers and Warriors coming up in January. None of those games are going to be easy, and the Bulls haven’t looked good against teams with a lot less talent. Chicago is going to need to play a lot better basketball to keep getting wins, and today can be a jumping off point for that success.

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