Chicago Bulls (2-0) vs. New Orleans Hornets (1-1)
Well, we may have underestimated this team just a bit. After the prediction that last night’s game would be close, this Bulls team found it’s swagger and destroyed the Cavaliers on the road. The win on Friday night was clearly personal, as it took just one full game for this team to get sick of hearing how mediocre it will be without Derrick Rose.
Rip Hamilton confirmed as much, saying a fan that called him “Old Man River” in the stands motivated him to go off last night in Cleveland. The rest of the Bulls followed Hamilton’s lead.
But even though last night’s win was amazing and made us all feel like this might turn out alright, we can’t realistically believe that games like the blowout in Cleveland will be the norm — at least not yet, it’s still too early to call.
That being said, the Hornets are bad, particularly at basketball.
The team is averaging a scoring total a full point less than what they are allowing, and their two close finishes to start the season is evidence this team is at a crossroads. The Hornets seem to have the tools to be good when everything finally gels, but that time is not now and even a Derrick Rose-less Bulls squad isn’t going to have much trouble with them.
New Orleans is without two key players, as Anthony Davis didn’t make the trip to Chicago after suffering a concussion in last night’s win, and Eric Gordon is out for the next month or so with a knee injury that is causing a bit of internal turmoil in the front office.
The Hornets still have ways to stay in games, after all they took the Spurs to the wire on Halloween, losing by just four points. So there is some edge to this Hornets squad, just nothing that makes the Bulls flinch. Austin Rivers, eat your heart out — because if you don’t do it first, the Bulls will just tear it out.
This seems to be one of the few games where Bulls fans can talk up their team and not have to be nervous about an upset. But they don’t call it a trap game for nothing, and the first 3-0 start since the 1996-97 season without the services of Derrick Rose seems a little too good to be true.
Interesting to note though, the last time the Bulls started 2-0, they missed the playoffs with a record of 30-52. However, the last time they started 3-0, they finished 69-13 on their way to a fifth NBA title.
Location: United Center, Chicago, IL
Time: 7:00pm CST/8:00pm EST
Bulls TV: CSN-Chicago
Away TV: Fox Sports New Orleans
Nat’l TV: N/A
Live Stream: NBA League Pass (FREE TRIAL)
Radio: ESPN 1000
Line: Bulls by 9
Injury Report/Inactives: CHICAGO — PG Derrick Rose (OUT), PG Kirk Hinrich (WILL PLAY)
NEW ORLEANS — PF Anthony Davis (OUT), SG Eric Gordon (OUT), SF Jason Smith (WILL PLAY)
Key Storyline: Can the Bulls keep this rolling and jump out to a 3-0 start against a banged up Hornets unit?
Avg. Pts Allowed
Avg. Pts Scored
Last 10 Games
Last Game: Bulls beat Cavaliers 115-86, Hornets beat Jazz 88-86
Last Meeting: February 28, 2012 — Bulls 99, Hornets 95
Prediction: Bulls 98, Hornets 91