Game On: Pels Host Bulls

Published: February 7, 2015

The Pelicans (27-23), coming off probably their biggest win since being rebranded, host the Chicago Bulls (30-20) tonight in the second of a back-to-back, tipoff is for 6CT.

Despite winning 7 of their last 10, New Orleans is still one game back from Phoenix in the race for the 8th seed, with OKC in hot pursuit.  They will have no time to enjoy the victory in Oklahoma and will have to get ready for another aggressive and explosive guard in Derrick Rose after giving up 93 points in the last two games to Russell Westbrook  (tho Rose has not been close to Westbrook’s level of play this season).  This will be the 5th of a 6-game road trip for Chicago, who have lost their last 3.

Jrue Holiday remains inactive for the Pels, his 14th game in a row due to a stress fracture in his right leg; Mike Dunleavy could return to the lineup from an ankle injury for the Bulls, they are 7-10 during this stretch without the starting SF.

Some Keys for Tonight’s Matchup:

  • The Bench – I should really say “everyone but Davis and Evans” here, the Pels’ two main guys last night did a lot of heavy lifting in 44 and 42 minutes respectively.  Both are relatively young guys and it shouldn’t be a huge issue, but in a difficult matchup in the second night of a back to back other guys will need to step up.The first meeting between the 2 teams Chicago’s bench outscored the Pels 37-22.  Gordon was in foul trouble a lot last night and only logged 27minutes in one of his worst games since coming back from injury, look him to bounce back as well.
  • Attack the Interior – since the start of the New Year, Chicago has had one of the worst defenses in the league.  There is no doubt about the amount of talent in the Bulls frontline, but finding the right combinations and rotations has been trickier than most thought it would, and even has some turning against coach Tom Thibodeau.  In the first 4 games of this Western road trip, Chicago has given up an average of 55.5 points in the paint; as the top team in the league in scoring in the paint, the Pels should really take advantage of this matchup.
  • Mentality – will the Pels still be hung over from a huge, exciting win in OKC or will Chicago have their full attention?  “I think our guys grew up tonight, and we’re going to have a big growth moment tomorrow night,” coach Williams claimed last night.  This team had a tendency to play to their opponent’s level early in the season, but that has changed of late, largely due to the additions of Dante Cunningham and Quincy Pondexter.  “Our huddles were great tonight,” Williams said of their win in OKC.  “Quincy and Dante have brought a different edge to our huddles because they talk about defense, and that helps.”  Hopefully a lot of that carries over tonight to the SKC, a win pulls the Pels within a half-game of the playoffs.

Enjoy the game!






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