Game On: Hornets @ Bulls

By:
Published: February 28, 2012

The Hornets travel to Chicago to try and upend a tough Bulls unit. I give you the keys to victory.

The Bulls are a stronger team this season than they were last season. Though the points per game for all four of their points leaders last year (Rose, Deng, Boozer, Noah) have dropped, so have their minutes – and instead they are spreading the scoring around the team a little more – making it harder to defend them. This has caused the Bulls offensive efficiency to leap from 12th in the league to 3rd.

Pair that with a tough brand of defense and this team is going to be hard to control – particularly with a trio of big men – Boozer, Noah and Taj Gibson, who all are playing efficiently and had a 10-game stretch before the All-Star break where ALL of them averaged a PER over 20. With Okafor and Smith expected to return, the Hornets can match their quantity, at least, if not their quality.

The Bulls will be missing Rip Hamilton and Loul Deng is questionable. The Hornets will be missing Eric Gordon. Smith and Okafor should return tonight.

The Keys to Victory:

  1. Open the game with Ariza on Rose. Without wing scorers Deng and Hamilton, the bulls are reduced to players like Watson and Korver who are purely spot-up shooters, making Ariza not necessary to guard them. Last year, in the playoffs, the Heat showed the way to hamper Rose is to put a long, athletic player on him and then hedge with a mobile big on pick and rolls. Sounds like Ariza and Ayon to me.
  2. Start Ayon.  The Bulls have a lot of advantages in every game they play, but their biggest is their domination of the glass.  They lead the league in offensive rebound rate.  Smith does not help on the glass.  Ayon does.  Let him, Okafor and Kaman control the potential damage there.
  3. Do not foul.  The Bulls, despite Rose’s attacking nature, do not draw a lot of free-throws.   The Hornets need to make sure this trend continues because the Bulls don’t give away free throws either.   The Hornets will need to play them to at least a draw on free throw attempts to keep this one close.

Enjoy the game!

15 comments
Bower's Woodshed
Bower's Woodshed

PER is the gold standard of statistics. When more than three players on a team are averaged over 20 PER, then you've got more than a handful.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Nice of Jack to give them the shot at the Big Macs. Love when opponents do that. We got chicken wraps on at least one occasion thanks to some bad guy . . .

D$
D$

damn...good game though..bright future and another reason we need air gordon to close games! night ya'll

504ever
504ever

The Bulls are a great team. But notice their 2nd team can't hang with our 2nd team. That's a testiment to our managment and coaches!!

D$
D$

i agree!! monty should be number 1 in this weeks power rankings

D$
D$

if we draft a pf which is likely...maybe don't bring back landry to save money and keep solomon jones and lance thomas for cheap...they play hard and jones is a nice athlete

D$
D$

as much as i like marco and he's been playin pretty well lately, i think we should package him with kaman to get some nice pieces, xavier will be solid next year as gordons backup

Diane
Diane

I am really enjoying the game. This looks like the team they can really be. Looking forward to a great second half.

D$
D$

nice half, ahead of maybe the best team in the league!!

D$
D$

xavier looks good! always attacking, kaman still chucking, i like him but time for a trade haha

Nick Malone aka yankeesman77
Nick Malone aka yankeesman77

Are we getting a Live Game Thread Chat going? If not, then how can I start one up for Hornets fans that do want to participate and discuss tonight's first game back from the All Star Break.

chris
chris

Are smith and Okafor playing?

D$
D$

sounds like okafor is out, no word on smith, hamilton and deng sound like they're playing tonight too...