The Charlotte Hornets will be facing a more conventional Chicago Bulls roster when they play the team for the third time. The Bulls are tied for first in the conference and are 1-1 against the Hornets this season. They will not have Mike Dunleavy back. They will also be missing Nikola Mirotic with a concussion.
As a result Fred Hoiberg will likely pair Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah in the starting post. There will be plenty of minutes for Taj Gibson off the bench to spell either of those two guys. Gasol is coming off a near twenty-twenty game in Denver. It should be noted that Gasol is also in the final year of his deal, which should encourage him to keep up his high level of play.
Opponent: Chicago Bulls (11-5)
Date: December 5, 2015
Time: 8:00 PM
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Venue: United Center (Chicago, IL)
As with the game against the Golden State Warriors, the Hornets will be adjusting to their time without Al Jefferson. His biggest absence has been on the rebounding end. The reason that Coach Steve Clifford has started Cody Zeller in the last game was to put his best rebounder on the court. If the Hornets had trouble with Golden State, then will really have trouble with the front line of Noah, Gasol, and Gibson.
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Likely rebounding help will have to come from outside the post position. Nicolas Batum had eight rebounds in the last game, Jeremy Lamb added four, and Brian Roberts added five more. Those numbers will have to get better. Notably P.J. Hairston had zero rebounds against the Warriors.
To battle the size that the Bulls will bring in the interior, the Hornets will need to kick it outside and force the Bulls to defend the three point line. It was that sort of offensive outburst that allowed the Hornets to beat the Bulls earlier in the season.
About four hours from now, the ball will be tipped.