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Game #38: Bobcats @ Bulls 2-on-3 Preview

Who: Chicago Bulls vs. Charlotte Bobcats

What: NBA Basketball – Bulls Home Game

When: 8:00 PM ET

Where: Live at the United Center, Chicago, IL

The Matchup:

Record Offensive
Chicago 16-18 99.3 (28) 99.8 (2) 90.6 (28)
Charlotte 15-22 99.3 (28) 103.1 (8) 92.8 (19)

Chicago: Derrick Rose (OUT)
Charlotte: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (OUT), Jeffery Taylor (OUT)

Starting Lineups

Bulls Bobcats
PG Kirk Hinrich Kemba Walker
SG Jimmy Butler Gerald Henderson
SF Mike Dunleavy Chris Douglas-Roberts
PF Carlos Boozer Josh McRoberts
C Joakim Noah Al Jefferson
6th Man Taj Gibson Ramon Sessions

3-on-3 TrueHoop Network1- To tank or not to tank? Which team has the better argument for doing so?

Greg: I think the decision’s already been made for both teams. With the Deng trade, the Bulls’ front office signaled that they’d given up on this season. I can’t blame them — Derrick Rose’s health seems like it will always be a question mark moving forward. The players left standing may have been good enough to scrape out a playoff appearance, but the team is capped out and lacks flexibility. A high draft pick in a loaded draft will help smooth over some of those issues.

Charlotte, on the other hand, still has other options. If they make the playoffs, that’s fine. They’re not likely to move past the first round, but it’s still a notch on their belt. And in the next few years, they still have cap space available to make a few free-agent signings and trades. A top pick would be great, but it’s not the only avenue for them to get better.

Mathew: Both teams have a pretty good argument to do so in my opinion, but each has somewhat shown its cards already. The Bulls may not be outright tanking, but they are nonetheless playing for next season with the trade of Luol Deng. As for the Bobcats, given the moves made in the off-season the mandate was obviously to win now and attempt to get this team back to the playoffs. It’s a decision many – myself included – disagree with, but it’s the one they’ve made. However, if the Bobcats continue on their slide (particularly after MKG returns) I could see front office deciding to ditch the idea of making the playoffs and turning their attention to the draft.

2- Tibs or Cliff? Which coach has done the better job so far this season?

Greg: Clifford’s done a good job, but he hasn’t had to deal with all the setbacks Thibodeau has. Despite the loss of Rose, a contentious relationship with his front office and higher expectations, the Bulls are still just below .500 and have the league’s second-best defense.
Mathew: I’m actually going to say Coach Clifford. Yes, I think Tibs is still by far the better coach (who may also be a hot commodity this off-season), but given the fact that Clifford has the Bobcats playing as a top ten defensive unit I can’t help but say he’s done the better job. Chances are they won’t finish as highly ranked as they currently stand, but regardless it’s amazing. Even without Rose and Deng the Bulls remain a more talented team than the Bobcats, so I give Coach Clifford the nod.

3- Who wins tonight?

Greg: I think the Bobcats keep sliding. Chicago has a lot of proud players, and they’ve won both games since the Deng trade. Their defense should still be good enough to carry the day.

Mathew: Bulls. Unfortunately, the Bobcats and their defense are moving in the wrong direction. The return of MKG will help, but he won’t be in the lineup tonight. The Bulls win in a low-scoring affair.