Game Preview: Bulls @ Hornets

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Published: March 17, 2008

Wow, these games are coming fast and furious.  Not much time to rest those bad ankles our players are hauling around.

I meant to mention this yesterday, but the brutal difference in long-distance shooting last night triggered memories of the other big blowouts we've been hit with this year.  To see if my memeory was correct I went and took a look at our other 15 point or more losses.  We've had 7 of those games, and like I suspected 3 point % was important in all but one of them.  Altogether, the Hornets shot 20% from three point range and the opposing teams combined to shoot 51% from deep when losing blowouts.

You can look at that two ways – either we live or die with the long ball – or it's really, really hard to beat us if we are shooting average or better from deep.

Oh and a funny non-Hornets related tidbit.  In Indiana at the beginning of the season, their Coach Jim O'Brien installed an offense that focused on taking every open three point shot that came available, apparently on the premise that 35% from three is better than 45% from two.(Valid if you do the math)

The ridiculous part is the defensive assistant they brought in has stated their philosophy is to pack the paint and to allow the other team to shoot from three.

Great philosophy there guys.  Your defense is now designed to allow your preferred offense.  I wonder why the Pacers have so crappy a record?

Game Preview
Matchup:
Bulls(26-39) @ Hornets(44-21)
Off Efficiency: Bulls 100.2(25th), Hornets 108.3(8th)
Def Efficiency: Bulls 103.0(10th), Hornets 102.7(9th)
Bull Blogger: Blog-a-bull

The Bulls were supposed contenders this offseason.  Instead, they are doormats who are struggling to make that pathetic eighth spot in the East.  If you visit Blogabull – which I do fairly regularly, you'll quickly get how Bulls fans feel this year: frustrated and confused.  It's not so much that Hinrich and Gordon are playing poorly – which they are – it's that the people running the team play veterans over clearly more talented youngsters all the time.  Even after trading away Ben Wallace and Joe Smith, they continue to leave Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah on the pine for long stretches.  At this point, I agree, let the kids play loooong minutes.

The Hornets come in after a bad letdown game in Detroit.  They are hurting, and that will give the Bulls the chance to stomp on them.  After watching last night's game, I hope CP3 does sit out.  He needs to get that thing working again for the next two big games against Houston and the Celtics.  Of course, that leaves Pargo running the point, and he's cold as ice.  Mike James time?

West is definitely out.  CP3 is gametime.  Duhon is Day-to-Day, but he's deep in the Chicago doghouse right now anyways.

Postional Analysis
PG:
Kirk Hinrich v CP3
Advantage: Hornets
Even on one leg, CP3 would have a better season than Hinrich is putting up.  The Bulls PG has always been a tough-nosed defender who fouls too much but had a solid outside shot.  Now he defends hard, fouls too much, but shoots badly from deep.

SG: Larry Hughes v Morris Peterson
Advantage: Even
An awful shot selection guy meets an infrequent shooter with mixed results.  Both play decent defense.  not much you want to see here right now.

SF: Loul Deng v. Peja Stojakovic
Advantage: Even
Loul was once the Bulls shining hope for a star.  Now its pretty clear he's a good player but not a star.  He's had injury problems and has fallen off a bit from last year, but he's still fairly effective.  Peja is very effective.

PF: Melvin Ely v Drew Gooden
Advantage: Bulls
Gooden is a good rebounder, and decent scorer.  He's also a complete bonehead and good for at least two idiotic mistakes a game.  Ely sometimes has an effective post game, but is a complete blackhole on offense and a weak rebounder.  Again, not much you want to see here.

C: Joakim Noah v Tyson Chandler
Advantage: Hornets
The replacement for Tyson, Joakim is an energy player with some decent passing skills.  For whatever reason, the Bulls don't like playing him long minutes, which is lame considering he's their best center.    That said, Tyson is better.

Bench
Advantage:
Bulls
Alright, I may have gotten a little carried away over the last couple weeks over the Hornets bench.  I chalk it up to having been starved so long for good bench play that when I finally got it, it was the best damn bench play I've ever seen.  Julian is good but developing, Bonzi is strong but not explosive, Pargo is listed in the Dictionary with the note "See Also: Streaky".  The Bulls have good bench players in Thabo Sefolosha, Ben Gordon, Ty Thomas and Andres Nocioni.  Nocioni may be the best scorer on the entire team.  It's the Bulls curse.  They have lots of solid to good players, but no great ones.  That means great bench, mediocre starters.

Hornets win 97-88.

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