[thanks to ‘ESterps08’ for today’s game preview. We have some openings for these in upcoming games if you’d like to sign up. -yfbb]
Bulls (2 - 10) vs Hornets (5 - 8)
Line: Hornets -7
Blog: At The Hive, a place I had honestly never heard of before right now.
Hornets Stats from basketball reference:
SRS: -0.51 (18th of 30)
Pace: 99.4 (9th of 30)
Off Rtg: 104.3 (23rd of 30)
Def Rtg: 106.3 (14th of 30)
Bulls Stats from basketball reference:
SRS: -9.18 (28th of 30)
Pace: 95.6 (28th of 30)
Off Rtg: 95.8 (30th of 30)
Def Rtg: 106.7 (17th of 30)
Well, things have gone south for the Bulls in a hurry. With five straight defeats they're tied for the longest losing streak in the eastern conference with... the Hornets. The Hornets though, are coming off an eight point loss to the Cavs that they led for a good bit of, and a come-from-ahead-loss to the Celtics, while the Bulls have played three consecutive noncompetitive games. The Hornets sit two games out of the 8th playoff spot, which has to be pretty disappointing to them so far. Nicolas Batum has been hurt, having played in one game, and Michael Kidd Gilchrist has had issues of his own, but still, anybody not in a playoff spot in the East is disappointing.
What The Hornets Do Well:
Not Be The Bobcats: This was a stupid name.
They Don't Turn The Ball Over: The Hornets have the lowest percentage of possessions that end in a turnover of any team in the NBA.
What The Hornets Don't Do Well:
They Don't Cause Turnovers Either: The Hornets are last in the NBA in opponents' possessions that end in a turnover. This actually happens less often than the Hornets turn the ball over themselves. We'll see what the offices of Dunn, Felder and Grant have to say about this.
The Foul Line: The Hornets through 13 games are working on quite the feat. While they get to the line more often than all but a few NBA teams, they miss more often than all of them. To make matters worse, opponents are shooting better from the foul line against Charlotte than they are against any other team. While some of this will even out, it does indicate that the Hornets aren't particularly adept at figuring out which players to foul - if a game is close.
Player To Watch: Marvin Williams - According to basketball reference Williams has played over 25,000 minutes in the league and is still active, which I refuse to believe in the sligh- okay. I can't go on with that.
Player to Watch: Kemba Walker - Walker has become a legitimately productive NBA player these past three seasons, pushing his PER above 20 and now to 21.5. He's got an effective field goal percentage of 50 and hitting 87.5% of his free throws. He's also averaging six assists a game.
Other Things To Know: I can't believe Cody Zeller is still in the league either. Dwight Howard is only 32. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has actually become a league-average player when nobody was looking. The folks over At The Hive think Jeremy Lamb is in the midst of a breakout - his numbers so far are blowing away his career norms. Small sample or true breakout? We won't find out today because the Bulls are bad.
Bulls Offensive Ineptitude Watch: The Bulls are averaging nine points less per game than the second lowest scoring team in the Eastern Conference. Their O-RTG is 95.8, which is still really bad. Their adjusted oRating is down from 90.2 to 90.1, creeping ever closer to the 2002 Nuggets. So while the Bulls have scored more points recently, the rest of the league is scoring even more points. Lauri Maarkanen is leading the team with 0.9 win shares through 12 games, putting him on pace for 6.1. Not great, but not among the worst team-leading seasons in Bulls history either.
Prediction: Bulls 90 Hornets 87 - somebody's five game losing streak is ending tonight, why not pick the good guys?