Who: Charlotte Bobcats vs Chicago Bulls
What: NBA Basketball – Bobcats Home Game
When: 7:00 PM ET
Where: Live at Time Warner Cable Arena
|Charlotte||13-41||98.3 (29)||108 (29)||94.4 (13)|
|Chicago||31-23||99.8 (25)||98.6 (4)||92 (27)|
Charlotte: Josh McRoberts (Status unknown)
Chicago: Kirk Hinrich (Questionable), Derrick Rose (OUT)
|PG||Kemba Walker||Kirk Hinrich|
|SG||Gerald Henderson||Richard Hamilton|
|SF||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist||Luol Deng|
|PF||Byron Mullens||Carlos Boozer|
|C||Bismack Biyombo||Joakim Noah|
|6th Man||Ramon Sessions||Nate Robinson|
1- STATS: Charlotte has already visited Chicago twice this season and split with the Bulls. Chicago is 4th in the league in Rebounding Rate (51.8), but the Bobcats have only gotten beat on the glass by 4, combined, in the two contests- Jeff Adrien and Bismack Biyombo have been a big reason for that. Seems clear that the battle on the boards is the most important tonight, right?
Spencer: I know this seems like a key stat for just about every game that the Bobcats play- it’s because it is. They must rebound to have a chance to win due to how difficult it is for Charlotte to generate offense. Whenever you face a squad like the Bulls with Noah and Boozer, you have to be able to compete on the boards. The Bulls play the style of basketball that creates second chances for themselves and forces the opposing team to sit down and guard them more possessions than they’d like. Not conducive to a Bobcats victory, considering this team struggles to guard anybody for one possessions. Charlotte continuing to battle on the glass, as they did in the first two meeting, is absolutely the most important stat for them this evening at home.
Greg: The Bobcats will have to tighten up as much as they can on defense, and rebounding is a part of that. Chicago’s offense is inefficient (28th in eFG%) and turnover-prone (23rd in TOV%), but they do an excellent job at creating second chances via offensive rebounding. Charlotte’s best shot at winning will be by limiting those offensive boards and trying to make the Bulls play at their pace.
2- JEFF ADRIEN: In two games this season against the Bulls, Adrien has averaged 11.5 PPG & 10 RPG. The undersized, but powerful PF has been able to give the front line duo of Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer a load to deal with. Dunlap would be silly to not give Adrien increased minutes tonight- will he make similar impact?
Spencer: I don’t know if he’s going to flirt with the double-double average this his numbers suggest against Chicago this season, but I do believe he’s extremely important to have on the floor in this match up. The Bulls are a very physical team. The Bobcats are not. Biyombo and Adrien have to be on the floor more than usual tonight to counter Chicago’ physicality- this means that Charlotte will rely heavily on guard scoring tonight, but they should be used to that by now. Ben Gordon will likely see extended minutes tonight.
Greg: I’d love to see Adrien get more playing time, as he’s been a positive influence on both rebounding and team defense, but I think we’ll see him get his typical 10-15 minutes. Maybe even less, if Josh McRoberts is available tonight. The team seems committed to developing Mullens (and playing MKG at power forward in small-ball lineups), and that’s mostly squeezed Adrien out of the rotation.
3- PICK IT: Charlotte matches up well with Chicago- Kemba’ speed and ability to get into the paint have exposed Chicago’s stingy defense so far this season. Bulls or Bobcats?
Spencer: Bulls. I like the way that Charlotte matches up with Chicago, but for the Cats’ to win they have to push the rock at a crazy pace all game to create easy baskets. One thing we’ve learned this season is that when the Bobcats are forced to execute in the half court, it can become very ugly. After last night’s slug fest against Miami, the Bulls will be determined to get a ‘should win’ vs Charlotte. Thibs will stress getting back defensively, Chicago will and the Cats’ may not make it to 80 points tonight. 85-75 Bulls.
Greg: Bulls win, but I think it’s another close one. For one, this is the second game of a back-to-back for the Bulls, while the Bobcats will have relatively fresh legs. Chicago is anemic enough on offense that if Charlotte can overachieve in one area (three-point shooting, fouls drawn, rebounding), they’ll be competitive.