Bulls-Bobcats Preview

Charlotte Bobcats Status Check:
Record: 3-12
Division: 0-6
Conference: 2-11
Road Record: 1-6
Last 10 Games: 2-8
Streak: Lost 2
Last game: 96-89 loss to Orlando
PPG: 91.1 (24th)
Opponents PPG: 101.7 (30th)
Offensive Rating: 97.1 (26th)
Defensive Rating: 108.4 (29th)
Pace: 93.2 (7th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .459 (23rd)
Turnover Percentage: .138 (9th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .729 (18th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .247 (21st)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .171 (28th)
Opp. eFG%: .500 (26th)
Opp. TO%:  .124 (25th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .223 (17th)
Leading scorer: D.J. Augustin (15.3)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Bobcats Injury Report:
DeSanga Diop: questionable (right knee inflammation)
Corey Maggette: out (strained left hamstring)
Eduoardo Najera: out (knee surgery)
Reggie Williams: out (knee surgery)

Chicago returns home tonight and looks to win their third game in a row, all of which came without Derrick Rose. They will probably be without their star again when they try to improve to 7-0 at home, but if the last two games are any foreshadowing; the Bulls should be alright against Charlotte.

The Bobcats have had off since Tuesday though, while the Bulls are playing the second night of a back-to-back. Chicago should still be pretty well rested.

Carlos Boozer (31 minutes), Joakim Noah (32), Luol Deng (33), Richard Hamilton (26) and C.J. Watson (31) didn’t play huge minutes. When Deng only plays 33 minutes something went very right or very wrong in the game (or Thibodeau was kidnapped and replaced with someone who believes Deng can rest). And this time everything went right.

You also know things went right when Mike James and Brian Scalabrine get eight minutes of playing time. I could get used to Scalabrine getting minutes, because that means the Bulls are winning big and getting rest.

Chicago shot 55.4 percent from the field, 66.7 percent from three, 94.1 percent from the line and won by 39. The Bulls’ defense was back to their stifling ways, holding the Cavaliers to 75 points on 30.3 percent shooting. And the Bulls were also playing Cleveland, which usually helps make you look good.

I don’t want to just spit numbers at you, but I’m going to for a second. The Bobcats are 26th in offensive rating, 29th in defensive rating, 23rd in effective field goal percentage, 26th in opponent effective field goal percentage, and 28th in free throws per field goal attempt. Really you could pick almost any stat and the Bobcats would be in the lower half of the league, but those jump out. They can’t score, can’t defend and don’t get to the line. Not quite the recipe for success.

With all that said, the Bobcats have been trouble for Chicago recently. Last year, the Bulls split the four games with Charlotte, even losing one in Chicago.

The Bulls lost the first two matchups of the season. In those two games, the Bobcats only turned the ball over 14 times; while Chicago coughed it up 23 times. Charlotte is holding onto the ball this year as well, ranking ninth in turnover percentage. The first loss came without Noah and the second loss came without Noah and Boozington.

Boozer scored 23 in the first game, while Deng added 22. Rose scored 17 in this game, but shot 29 percent. In game two, Rose found his touch and shot 50 percent, but no other starter shot better than 33 percent. Deng scored only ten points and the Bulls fell by one point. The Bobcats went 0-13 from three and still found a way to win that game.

Chicago flipped the script and won the next two each by double digits.

Back to this year, Chicago returns to the United Center where they are undefeated this season and allowing just 71.8 points on 36.7 shooting.

But the Bulls have their injury problems. Obviously Rose is hurt, and unlikely to play, but Taj Gibson left Friday’s game with an ankle injury and was seen afterwards with a walking boot. John Lucas was also injured in the Cavs game, but should be ready to go tonight. The Bulls are starting to look like the Tune Squad at the end of Space Jam.

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