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Reply To: NBA • Saturday Service Plays • 12/5/15

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Preview: Charlotte At Chicago

When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 5, 2015

Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois

The Charlotte Hornets just got run over by the defending champion Golden State Warriors and now must go on the road and tangle with one of the best teams in the East. The Hornets will try to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since dropping the first three games of the season when they visit the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.

Charlotte put up a decent effort on the defensive end and still could not stop Stephen Curry from scoring 40 points on 18 shots in 31 minutes of a 116-99 loss to the Warriors on Wednesday. The Hornets can still count the seven-game homestand a success, as the only two losses came to Golden State and fellow NBA finalists the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bulls are battling the Cavaliers for the top spot in the East but is still having trouble getting on the same page with first-year coach Fred Hoiberg’s scheme on offense. “We’re 11-5. C’mon, if it was the other way around we’d be hanging our heads and there would be something to talk about,” Chicago guard Derrick Rose told reporters in reference to any struggles. “As long as we are winning games, no matter how we win them, as long as we have one more point at the end of the games, we’re fine with it.”

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Charlotte), WGN (Chicago)

ABOUT THE HORNETS (10-8): Charlotte lost Al Jefferson to a calf strain and is having some trouble replacing the physical presence he provides in the post. The Hornets were outrebounded 53-41 on Wednesday and Cody Zeller, who was starting in place of Jefferson, managed three boards in 17 minutes. “The one thing that is disappointing, and that has to change, is you can’t pick and choose when you’re going to be physical,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford told reporters.

ABOUT THE BULLS (11-5): Charlotte could use a physical inside presence to go up against Pau Gasol, who delivered 26 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks in a 99-90 win over Denver on Wednesday. “He’s a smart player,” Rose told reporters of Gasol. “He reads the plays well. A couple of times (Wednesday) he (fended off) the screen and I was able to get to the lane. That comes off just playing and his IQ. He’s a big who is very smart, who can pass the ball and read the play.” Gasol had 19 points and 13 boards in a 102-97 home win over the Hornets on Nov. 13.


1. The home team has taken each of the last four games in the series.

2. Charlotte G Kemba Walker is coming off a season-low four points on 2-of-16 shooting.

3. Chicago F Nikola Mirotic (concussion) is unlikely to play.

PREDICTION: Bulls 93, Hornets 91