[Thanks to Swoove for today's game preview -yfbb]
The Chicago Bulls have started the 2015-16 regular season off on a good foot as they travel to Charlotte with a 3-1 record. Not much about the Bulls is different at first glance aside from rookie head coach Fred Hoiberg, and new roster additions in rookie forward Bobby Portis and reserve Cristiano Felicio. The rest of the roster from last year is intact if not all healthy. There are noticeable changes as it pertains to their play on the hardwood. For one, Bulls home games take place on a new bolder and cleaner looking floor more reminiscent of the Old Stadium that caught many fans off guard. But more significantly Hoiberg's offense seems quicker and more fluid than what this team ran last season. In just the second game of the season, the Bulls routinely dropped 115 points on the Brooklyn Nets. Fred Hoiberg's offense is working like a charm! Or is it?
If you compare the numbers to the Bulls' first four games from last year's campaign, you'll find they are interesting and rather ironic. In the 2014-15 season, Chicago's first four opponents were the New York Knicks, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Orlando Magic; two teams being opponents Chicago have also faced so far this season. The Bulls were not considered a three-point savy team last season though the team converted 35.3% of their three-point attempts, good for 10th in the NBA. The offense the Bulls run now is said to focus more on getting good looks from beyond the arc, and they have seen many. Through their first four games last season, the Bulls attempted 93 shot from beyond the arc, and converted on 36 of them for a percentage of 38.7% (TS 58.7%). This year through four games, the Bulls have hoisted 97 three-point attempts and have converted 35 of those attempts for a percentage of 36.1% (TS 53.2%). Different coach, new offense; similar roster, similar results—granted four games is a small sample size.
The Charlotte Hornets are looking for their first win of the young season, but have plenty of reasons to be hopeful. At 0-3, two of their losses have come at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks, and each game was within two and three points respectively. The third loss was to the Miami Heat. So the Hornets have lost only to playoff caliber teams in the early going. Unfortunately for Charlotte, they will be entering this game undermanned as Cody Zeller is to miss today's contest with an unknown illness that has seen him unexpectedly lose 10 pounds. Zeller will undergo testing. Second year guard Troy Daniel has been nursing a hamstring since late October, but is listed as probable for tonight.
The Hornets have many reasons to be optimistic as they look for their first win on the season tonight. Sadly, they are going to have to look elsewhere. The Hornets do not have the talent to match up with the Bulls. Chicago has played very well to start the season and have showed no signs of slowing. While Charlotte has sported come competitive games, there is a reason they have recently lost to playoff caliber teams and tonight should prove to be no different.
Tip-off is at 6:00 CST
Radio: WMVP ESPN 1000AM / WRTO 1200AM