New Orleans Hornets Status Check:
Road Record: 16-19
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Streak: Won 2
Last game: 96-81 win over Cavaliers
PPG: 94.6 (27th)
Opponents PPG: 92.6 (3rd)
Offensive Rating: 105.6 (22nd)
Defensive Rating: 103.4 (6th)
Pace: 88.9 (28th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .493 (18th)
Turnover Percentage: .131 (12th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .765 (2nd)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .248 (22nd)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .228 (15th)
Opp. eFG%: .491 (12th)
Opp. TO%: .146 (6th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .218 (7th)
Leading scorer: David West (18.8)
Stats from Basketball-Reference.com.
New Orleans Injury Report:
Chris Paul: concussion (out for Monday’s game)
Trevor Ariza: strained groin (missed Sunday’s game)
David West: sprained left ankle (played Sunday’s game)
New Orleans and Chicago are both playing on the second night of back-to-back games in which they won the first game. But a W is about the only similarity between the Bulls’ and Hornets’ last games. The Bulls beat one of the best teams in the East and, thankfully, had no injuries. New Orleans finished off a game against the Cavs without their superstar point guard; outscoring Cleveland by 16 points following that traumatic 3rd quarter event. Chris Paul’s scary injury happened when his head hit Ramon Sessions’ shoulder. Although he had to be taken off on a stretcher; he was able to travel with the team to Chicago after being diagnosed with a concussion. Also, in Paul’s 26 minutes of play he was still able to record a double-double (13 points and 11 assists) and record 5 more assists than opposing PG Baron Davis.
So, sadly, it will not be round two of the marquee point guard match up we all had hoped for, but Jarett Jack is a solid backup. He averages 8.3 points, 2.7 assists and 2.2 rebounds in just under 20 minutes per game (13.54 PER). Jack scored 10 points in 13 minutes of play in the Bulls-Hornets game in February. And Bulls fans probably remember that Rose got the best of Paul, and the win, in their first matchup. Rose had 23 points to go with six assists and four rebounds, while Paul had 15 points, six assists and three steals.
The Hornets might struggle to score with their facilitator missing, at the very least, this game. Add to that the fact that, according to Stats LLC, Chicago allowed opponents to score only 80.4 points-per game on their 5 game road trip, and it looks like the Hornets may be in for a long night offensively.
The Hornets are second in the league in defensive rebound percentage, but the Bulls go at the boards harder than most. The Magic are number one in that category, and the Bulls Windex-ed that glass. Chicago out-rebounded the Magic 50-30 overall and had 17 offensive rebounds to Orlando’s 25 defensive boards.
The Hornets also allow opponent’s the fewest offensive rebounds per game at 9.4. The Bulls only had 6 O-boards in the first game between the two teams; 4 of them by Omer Asik…but Noah was out. Chicago only allowed New Orleans to grab 2 offensive boards, but the Hornet’s starting center, Emeka Okafor, was out too. In game 1, Chicago won the rebounding battle by a wide margin, 47-26, and Kurt Thomas and Asik pulled down 11 each.
Chicago averages 11.8 offensive rebounds per game, eighth best in the league.
Without Okafor the Hornets struggled. New Orleans is just 6-10 since the start of February. Okafor was out for 10 of those games. But the Hornets are still in sixth place in the Western Conference playoff race. They were really helped by their 11-1 start to the season, but since that start they are playing under .500 ball (26-27).
The Bulls have won 8 in a row at home; their last loss coming to the Bobcats in January. And, according to Stats LLC, the Bulls have won six straight against the Hornets.
Back-up centers…the old versus the new:
Aaron Gray played 61 games in his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls. Right now Omer Asik has played 61 games in his rookie season. Gray averaged 4.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in 10 minutes per game. Asik has averaged 2.6 points and 3.9 rebounds in 12 minutes per game. Most fans would probably take Asik because he has the ability to move laterally. And Omer looks like Linguine from Ratatouille, which is awesome.
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.