Charlotte Bobcats Status Check:
Home Record: 16-15
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Streak: Lost 5
Last game: lost 92-87 to Clippers
PPG: 93.4 (29th)
Opponents PPG: 96.9 (12th)
Offensive Rating: 103.0 (26th)
Defensive Rating: 106.9 (14th)
Pace: 90.1 (24th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .479 (25th)
Turnover Percentage: .146 (28th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .757 (4th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .267 (14th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .245 (5th)
Opp. eFG%: .494 (13th)
Opp. TO%: .126 (22nd)
Opp. FT/FGA: .230 (15th)
Leading scorer: Stephen Jackson (19.0)
Stats from Basketball-Reference.com.
Charlotte Injury Report:
DeSagana Diop: ruptured right Achilles (out for season)
Matt Carroll: sprained left ankle (questionable for tonight’s game)
Stephen Jackson: strained left hamstring (probable for tonight’s game)
Tyrus Thomas: left knee surgery (probable for tonight’s game)
The ghost of Michael Jordan is still hovering over the Bulls, not allowing them to dominate the Bobcats as they should this year. That’s probably not true, but Jordan can do anything in most Bulls fans’ opinions, and I wouldn’t put it past him.
The Bobcats are 2-1 against Chicago this year, taking the first two games between these squads (the Bobcats are 1-0 at home in the series). According to Stats LLC, the Bobcats are the only sub-.500 team to beat the Bulls more than once this season.
But Charlotte is struggling, and they made a lot of moves at the deadline that seemed to be waving the white flag. Knowing Jordan, it was possibly a golf flag.
Charlotte has lost 5 straight and are 6-10 since the start of February. They are in ninth place in the playoff race, one game back of the Pacers (27-36).
The Bulls on the other hand, have run through their last few games like its Pamplona. Chicago won 10 of their last 12. In those games, Chicago is allowing opponents to score just 87.75 points per game and that includes the 118 that Toronto put up in one of those losses. Over their last seven games, Chicago’s defense has been even better, allowing just 81.1 points per game. Charlotte only scores 93.4 points per game, second-to-last in the league, while the Bulls allow the least points in the league (91.5). I’m not good at math, but that looks great to me. And during this stretch, the Bulls have outscored opponents by seven points a game.
The task for the Bobcats will be even greater if Charlotte’s group of injured players can’t suit up. Ex-Bull Tyrus Thomas, who hasn’t played since the Bobcats beat Chicago on January 18, is expected to be back for the game. Thomas had 8 points and 2 rebound in 20 minutes of work during that game against Chicago.
Stephen Jackson also missed Charlotte’s last two games, but he too is expected to be back tonight. If he is out it will be a huge loss for the Bobcats. Jackson is their leading scorer and has averaged 16 points and more than 4 rebounds against Chicago this season. He averaged 23.3 points per game in the month of February, but is averaging just 7.5 points in his last two games (averaging 24.5 minutes).
The Jackson injury is escalated by the fact that he made the switch from shooting guard to small forward when Gerald Wallace was traded before the deadline. If Jackson is out, the Bobcats will have two players starting that weren’t in the starting lineup a few weeks ago. And they also have Kwame Brown starting. The only starting Brown should be doing, is the search for his next career.
Important matchup — D.J. Augustin vs. Derrick Rose:
Game 1: Bobcats win 96-91
Augustin: 22 points, 12 assists, 1 turnover
Rose: 17 points, 7 assists, 4 turnovers
Augustin outplays Rose and the Bobcats win.
Game 2: Bobcats win 83-82
Augustin: 15 points, 5 assists, 1 turnover
Rose: 33 points, 4 assists, 3 turnovers
Rose outplayed Augustin but got little help from his fellow starters (28 points between the four other starters), Bobcats win.
Game 3: Bulls win 106-94
Augustin: 5 points, 5 assists, 3 turnovers
Rose: 18 points, 13 assists, 6 turnovers
Even with the turnovers, Rose crushed Augustin in this matchup. Augustin only played 21 minutes because his ineffectiveness. Shaun Livingston took many of those minutes, scoring 13 points in 27 minutes.
Augustin will have to play even better this time without Gerald Wallace and either playing with an injured Tyrus Thomas and Stephen Jackson or playing without the two of them.
And remember, this will be the first time this season that the Bulls are at full strength against the Bobcats.
About the Author:
Braedan Ritter was born and raised in Pennsylvania but was swayed by gifts from his aunt to follow the Chicago sports teams. It didn’t hurt that the Bulls had a guy named Michael Jordan playing for them, and the Sixers had…Derrick Coleman. Braedan has stuck with Chicago through thick and thin, and really thin (see: Chicago Cubs). And speaking of Coleman, Braedan is currently a student at Syracuse University.