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Chicago Bulls vs. Charlotte Hornets: Preview, Injury Report, and Game Thread

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Here we go

Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Chicago Bulls at Charlotte Hornets

6 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago

Injury Report

Only injury for the Bulls is Chandler Hutchison. The other inactive is Cristiano Felicio. So it appears the still 6’4” Shaq Harrison is healthy after missing the whole preseason.

For the Hornets, a clean injury sheet, but Nic Batum’s banged up preseason has now seen him supplanted by rookie PJ Washington in the starting lineup.

Preview:

Finally, we’re playing for something.

....but if you consult many of the experts, they’ll tell you that the Bulls won’t be playing for much this year. Low 30s wins, a third straight season with no playoffs that seems to be the expert consensus.

Regardless, there’s something unusual this season permeating through the walls of the United Center and making its rounds through the most jaded corners of the internet.

Optimism.

That the Bulls will be better than that low 30s win projection total from the so-called experts. Optimism that even if the experts are right and the Bulls win 30 games and are lottery bound again, that this 30-win Bulls team will be lightyears more fun to watch than the 22 and 27 win Bulls teams from the last two seasons respectively.

Optimism that watching the Bulls won’t be a chore this year. It won’t be a final resort after we’ve flipped through the other 100 channels on our televisions and decide that watching the Bulls on a Thursday night is better than watching reruns of F-R-I-E-N-Ds again. This season, watching the Bulls won’t be something we only feel obligated to do because we write about them online or have some influence on Bulls twitter and want to maintain our credibility.

This feels like a stepping stone season on the path to much bigger things in the future. Think the 2008-2009 Bulls team that won 41 games and snuck into the eighth spot which segued into those great Bulls teams in the years after that.

That team had a rookie Derrick Rose and a bunch of veteran help around him. This year’s team is younger and much less experienced. Will a big step forward in the win column this season precede years of really good basketball to come?

Tune into all 82 games this season and beyond to find out.

Refocusing to tonight the Bulls opponent, the Charlotte Hornets, are going to be bad.

Kemba Walker is gone....escaping to greener pastures in Boston. A 30-year-old Nicolas Batum is probably their best player. Their young players like Malik Monk and Miles Bridges don’t have nearly as much hype around them as other groups of youngsters around the league. It is kind of cool that they have both Martin twins from Nevada on their team though. However, my guy Frank Kaminsky isn’t around anymore which is sad.

The Hornets could legitimately finish with the worst record in the league this season. Do better Michael Jordan.

Random Stat:

The Bulls are 29-24 all-time in season openers.

By decade:

‘60s: 2-2

‘70s: 5-5

‘80s: 6-4

‘90s: 6-4

‘00s: 5-5

‘10s: 5-4

Tweet you gotta see:

NBC Sports Chicago is low-key kind of savage.