[Thanks to The Hungarian Jordan for today's game preview -yfbb]
The Charlotte Hornets are not a good team. At 4-14, they are currently in the midst of a 9 game losing streak and have lost 11 of their last 12, including a 30 point loss to Atlanta in their last game. The advantage they do have is they are well-rested, having last played in Atlanta on Saturday, and one of the youngest teams in the league (average age 25.7) so they should be pretty fresh.
The Bulls, on the other hand, are coming off a double OT game in which Pau Gasol led the team with 50 minutes, Mike Dunleavy played a career high 49 minutes, and Jimmy played an average-for-him 46 minutes. We also witnessed what Dirk Nowitski said was one of the dumber fouls he's ever seen in 17 years. Hopefully, the long minutes the night before and travel to Charlotte do not affect the Bulls too much for this back-to-back game.
At The Hive, the Hornets' SB Nation blog, has this to offer on their prediction for tonight's game:
Lets face it, nobody thinks the Hornets actually will win tonight, and that's because the Hornets have given them nothing to believe in...There isn't much analysis that can be brought before tonight's game, because there's not much to analyze. Everything about the team is a wreck.
The Hornets play a pretty slow game (24th/30 in pace) and are near the bottom of the league on both ends of the court (27th in offensive efficiency, 23rd in defensive efficiency). Promising 2nd-year player Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been out indefinitely with a stress reaction in his right foot. Gary Neal (6th man for them) is declared out for this game and Marvin Williams (who surprisingly has been shooting pretty well this year as a starter) is questionable.
On the Bulls' end, per Friedell, Taj is out and McDermott is questionable. Noah, Rose, and Gasol should all play.
The Hornets are led by solid post presence Al Jefferson, who is doing very Al-like things as usual. He's averaging 20 ppg/8 rpg on the year but will probably fail again to make his first all-star team. Expect to see a lot of right-hand post moves, as he once jokingly told Zach Lowe he could play just as well if someone cut off his left hand. My favorite Big Al story is about his ridiculous $23,000 oversized bed which can fit two grizzly bears in it, but I digress.
The Hornets also feature Neil Funk whipping boy Lance Stephenson, who is having a down year and is struggling to fit in with his new team. Kemba Walker, Cody Zeller, and Gerald Henderson fill in the rest of the starting lineup.
The Bulls have typically fared pretty well against this team. We were 3-1 last year and are 10-4 in the Thibs era. Vegas has us as a 3 point favorite, so hopefully we take care of business before a very entertaining game on Saturday at home against the Warriors.
Also, Episode 2 of the Slowmotion and THJ podcast is also out (no discussion on Dallas, recorded before the game), so if you guys need some more of your Bulls fix, please check it out!