‘We’re All Hungry’: Hornets, Bulls Meeting for Season Opener
By Sam Perley
Depending on who you ask, the NBA offseason was entirely too long or has gone by way too fast. Regardless, it officially ends tonight for most teams as the Charlotte Hornets welcome the Chicago Bulls for their season opener, which tips off at 7 PM EST at Spectrum Center.
Charlotte is wrapping up a 1-4 preseason in which it ranked 16th in the NBA in defensive rating (100.2) and T-17th in pace (105.80 possessions/48 minutes). The offensive and defensive revamping is an unfinished product at the moment, but now it’s time to see where things stand in the first it-counts-in-the-standings game of the year.
“We have a great mindset right now,” said Miles Bridges after Tuesday’s practice. “We’re all hungry, ready to get started. Ready to start off the season 1-0. I’ve been waiting for this since we played the Magic in the [finale].” Dwayne Bacon added, “We’re trying to capitalize on everything we can, the little things, defend, get in transition and come out and get a win.”
In 58 games under Head Coach Jim Boylen last season, Chicago had the third-worst offensive rating (106.0) and fourth-worst defensive rating (113.8). Bright spot Otto Porter Jr. averaged 17.5 PPG (48.8% from 3P), 5.5 RPG and 2.7 APG in 15 post-trade games (7-8) before going down with injuries and finished the campaign as the Bulls’ only player with a positive net rating (0.2).
Zach Lavine (23.3 PPG) and rookie Cody White (19.2 PPG) led the Bulls in scoring and shot a combined 48.4% from three-point range this preseason. Chicago’s main offseason acquisitions featured White, guard Tomáš Satoranský (Washington), forward Thaddeus Young (Indiana) and center Daniel Gafford (University of Arkansas), while the only notable loss was center Robin Lopez (Milwaukee).
Game Notes: Chicago F Chandler Hutchinson (strained hamstring) is questionable to play… Charlotte has won three straight home games against Chicago, while averaging 126.0 PPG