The Bulls are in Charlotte to take on the 0-3 Hornets who frankly look as bad as their record suggests. But before we hand over this W to the Bullies, let's remember what happened last season when a 16-point first quarter lead vanished, and led to a ten-point loss without the presence of Al Jefferson. The Hornets are scrappy, even if they haven't shown it this year, which is a usual trait found in defensive-minded teams.
Going down memory lane however, shouldn't change the expectation for tonight. This should be a Bulls win, and preferably a pretty convincing one at that. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been lost for the season, the aforementioned Jefferson has started slowly, and the team's leading scorer, Kemba Walker, is shooting 35% from the field. If the Bulls get into a dogfight in this one, it'd certainly raise some eyebrows.
So what to look for?
- Joakim Noah repeating the effort he brought against Orlando would string together two nice games for him, and hopefully set him on a better course for the season.
- Taj Gibson not ending up in foul trouble would make me a happy camper, and I reckon Coach Hoiberg would appreciate it as well. Taj is currently picking up 3.5 fouls in an even 20 minutes of play a game, which partly explains his somewhat disappointing start to the season.
- McDermott, McDermott, and more McDermott. This Hornets team is not a great scoring team, and lack creators on the wing positions. This means McDermott won't have to match up against someone who can consistently burn him (and here I'm assuming Butler guards Nicolas Batum), which in turn should preserve him energy to participate offensively. It's crucial that Hoiberg keeps building on Doug's good games, and this is a wonderful opportunity to do just that.
- Look for Snell more. Much like the notion above with McDermott, Snell should benefit from going up against shaky talent on the wing, so this could be an opportunity for him in getting some more touches. Worst case scenario: His shot doesn't fall early, and Jimmy takes over in what could be a playground game for him.
All in all, this game has the make-up of the win against Brooklyn. On the road, opponent struggling, Bulls coming off a win and having momentum.. What remains to be seen is if the Bulls shoot themselves in the foot through turnovers (17 a game, second-worst in the league) and not getting on the glass enough (-4.0 a game).
Also, don't let Kemba do this to Niko again:
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