The Charlotte Bobcats have a chance at doing something we haven’t seen them do much in this 2012-13 NBA season: win consecutive games.
It comes on the road against the Chicago Bulls, but a chance is still a chance, right? Charlotte is an abysmal 5-14 on the road this year, so it won’t be easy. However, helping them out a bit is this is still a Chicago team that goes to work sans star point guard Derrick Rose, and they’re not exactly dominant at home (just 14-11).
The odds are still stacked against Charlotte winning back to back games, but this is definitely a game worth taking a closer look at. Let’s breakdown this matchup by position and see if the Bobcats stand a chance to win two in a row:
1. The Point – Edge: Bobcats
Kirk Hinrich is a defensive stalwart and actually had two really nice games lately, but his offensive is normally pretty shaky, and all the Bulls have behind him is the vastly under-sized Nate Robinson. Kemba Walker had a solid showing the last time these two teams met, so I don’t see why he can’t produce and be effective again. Ramon Sessions off the bench gives them the edge in depth and versatility, as well.
2. The Wings – Edge: Bulls
You can talk about MKG’s potential and Gerald Henderson being solid, but no guard or wing player in Charlotte touches Luol Deng. He can defend and score in a variety of ways, and shouldn’t have any trouble against Charlotte’s wings. He’s missed some action, but actually looks good to face the Bobcats tonight. Richard Hamilton and Marco Belinelli help round out a decent offensive supporting cast on the wings. Normally I give Charlotte’s guard depth a shot in any matchup, but not if Deng is leading the charge tonight.
3. The Bigs – Edge: Bulls
Byron Mullens remains out, but even if he were playing tonight I still don’t like Charlotte’s chances against the Bulls’ bigs. Obviously Joakim Noah has the ability to dominate this matchup down low, while Carlos Boozer can take it inside or hit jumpers all day with his mid-range game. Taj Gibson is one of the best energy guys in the league off the bench, and those three together are going to make it really tough on the Bobcats.
4. The Coach – Edge: Bulls
This one isn’t even close. Derrick Rose has been out all season and defensive-minded Tom Thibodeau still has his guys working hard and believing. Chicago is a tough out every night, and generally play their best ball at home. The Bulls are a fairly average team in terms of pure talent, but Tom Thibodeau gets them to play at a level higher than they would with someone else. The Bobcats are a team of losing streaks and faint hopes under rookie coach Mike Dunlap. Tom Thibodeau wins this one, easily.
5. The Verdict: Bulls Win
The Bobcats have given up 100+ points in four of their last five games, so I think the trick tonight will have to be slowing the pace down and controlling the tempo. Kemba Walker can make that happen, but he’ll have to do his part in making sure Kirk Hinrich doesn’t help out in a big way and drop another 20+ points for the Bulls. When Chicago gets a random hot performance from him (when he averages just six points per game), they’re tough to beat. In fact, when Hinrich has topped 16 points in a game this season, Chicago is 3-1. Oddly enough, he didn’t play in the last meeting between these two teams. Watch tonight’s point guard battle to see which way this one swings.
My Pick: Bulls 101, Bobcats 96