The Bulls are in New Orleans to take on the Hornets tonight (7 PM CT, CSN Chicago), and unless the entire team stayed out all night on Bourbon Street, they shouldn't have an ounce of difficulty in beating this team.
The Hornets are not very good with a full roster, and tonight they'll be playing without leading scorer Eric Gordon and #3 scorer Carl Landry for sure, and Jarrett Jack is listed as a game-time decision. Jack is their 2nd leading scorer at 15.8 points per game, but if he plays he'll be the only guy on the roster who averages double figure scoring.
Derrick Rose is listed as day-to-day, but there is really no need to play him tonight or Friday night in Charlotte. The Hornets (4-21) have the 2nd worst record in the league, leading the Bobcats (3-22) by one game. Or, if you prefer, they are trailing the Bobcats by one game in the race for the most lottery balls to see who gets to draft Kentucky's Anthony Davis this summer.
CJ Watson has been playing probably the best ball of his NBA career, Thibs might as well let him start with John Lucas III backing him up. CJ is averaging 14.8 points and 5.3 assists in four February games, and in his three starts he is putting up 16.3 points and 7.0 assists in just under 32 minutes, shooting 58.3% from behind the arc.
Bulls: Offensive Efficiency 108.6 (1st in NBA), Defensive Efficiency 98.4 (4th)
Hornets: Offensive Efficiency 99.3 (25th), Defensive Efficiency 105.5 (23rd)
Check back later today as Will Hibert from AtTheHive.com joins me on the Bullsville Radio Podcast. EDIT: As I was uploading the interview, my computer crashed. Blue Screen of Death, ouch. I'm going to get on the phone with Dell to see if it can be recovered, but I'm not holding my breath. I have another computer I can use to get online, but I can't do anything with audio on here. Wish me luck.
Here are the game notes, courtesy of NBA Media Relations:
The Bulls have won six straight games over the Hornets, and swept the season series the last three years … last year’s series sweep was just their fourth sweep over the Hornets since the 1996-97 season (4-0); the Bulls also swept New Orleans (2-0) in 2006-07 … New Orleans last defeated the Bulls on March 17, 2008, a 108-97 win in New Orleans … The Bulls are 27-13 against the Hornets in the Windy City and 22-21 on the road … in two games versus New Orleans last year, the Bulls limited the Hornets to .383 shooting from the field, while the Bulls shot .444; the Bulls also held New Orleans to 82.5 ppg in two games last year … The Bulls have not won four straight road games over the Hornets since they won five in a row from 1995-1997 … the Bulls are 7-4 in their last 11 games against New Orleans … The Bulls are 3-2 in overtime games versus the Hornets.
Dating back to the 1979-80 NBA season (when the league introduced the three-point shot), the Bulls are currently on pace to shot their third best three-point field goal percentage in franchise history. On the year, the Bulls are shooting .383 (seventh in NBA) from downtown. The Bulls shot their best 3FG percentage (.401) during the 1995-96 season, while their second best percentage (.388) came during the 2006-07 campaign.
Over their last two contests, the Bulls are averaging 110.5 ppg (holding their opponents to 88.5 ppg), .543 from the field, .511 from downtown and .815 from the free throw line. They’re also grabbing 46.0 rpg and dishing out 30.0 apg. The Bulls are also averaging 64.5 ppg in their last two first halves (posted a 67-point first half at MIL and a 62-point first half at NJ).
C.J. Watson and Kyle Korver have both been lights out from deep as of late. Over their last four games, they’re both shooting over .500 from downtown (Watson .556, 10-18 3pt, Korver .526, 10-19 3pt). On the year, Watson ranks third (.491) in the NBA in 3pt FG%, while Korver (.444) ranks 17th.
The Bulls are 4-2 thus far on this 9 game road trip. The Bulls’ 21-6 record is the fourth-best start in franchise history after 27 games. The Bulls started 24-3 in 1995-96, 24-3 in 1996-97 and 23-4 in 1991-92. 15 of the Bulls' 21 wins have been by 10 or more points. The Bulls are second in the NBA in scoring differential (+9.2 points).
The Bulls are allowing 88.4 ppg (third in the NBA). The Bulls’ team record for opponent scoring in a season is 89.6 ppg (1997-98).