What: Charlotte Hornets (32-33) vs Chicago Bulls (26-39)
When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Charlotte Hornets are back at home against the Chicago Bulls after a thriller win against the Detroit Pistons Tuesday. This will be the third matchup between these teams this season, last time these two matched up the Chicago Bulls won convincingly, in a game where Charlotte fell apart defensively and went cold from the three-point line.
The Hornets have been playing a better brand of basketball since then, while Chicago has lost 5 of their last 6 games and have started to play themselves out of the play-in game tournament.
Charlotte will have their star rookie guard back this time around. The Hornets offense has had a change of complexion since Ball has returned to the lineup, we’ve seen them play with much better pace and the ball movement has been cleaner, which is creating good open looks for the offense.
The Bulls are getting healthy late in the season and will have two pivotal pieces returning back for this matchup with all-stars Nikola Vučević (adductor),and Zach LaVine (health and safety protocols).
On the flip side the Hornets will be short handed again tonight with Cody Martin (ankle), Devonte’ Graham (knee), Miles Bridges (health and safety protocols), and P.J Washington (personal reasons) all out.
Keys To The Game
Charlotte should be focused on shutting down the Bulls early, Chicago’s two all star players have missed a handful of time and naturally will need some time to get back into rhythm. Charlotte cannot allow Lavine and Vucevic to get comfortable especially not at home.
Chicago will most likely have a tough time creating offense in spurts as they have for most of the season anyway but not allowing their core guys to get comfortable and hang around in this game is pivotal for Charlotte to take this game. If Charlotte allows Chicago to hang around late in this one brace yourself for a long night.
Albeit the Chicago Bulls will lean heavily on their two all stars Charlotte shouldn’t forget about the others. In particular, 2nd year Guard Coby White and veteran Daniel Theis who they acquired via trade at the trade deadline.
The Hornets should be more mindful of White this time around, last matchup White burned the Hornets from the three-point line. Daniel Theis is also a sneaky good three-point shooter that can stretch the floor.
The Hornets ball movement has been better as of late and you can see those pay dividends in creating more open looks for the offense. In Charlotte’s last game against Detroit, we saw six players end the game scoring in double digits, that should be the formula for the short-handed Hornets offense right now, getting everyone involved and just creating good offense. Charlotte has to keep the turnovers down in this one and avoid bad isolation play, and they should be in a good position to win this game.