Two struggling Eastern Conference teams, the Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls, will face off on Thursday night. This is the second meeting between the two sides and both enter this game on the back of a loss.
Fixture: Charlotte Hornets vs Chicago Bulls | NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Thursday, April 22nd, 9 PM ET (Friday, 6:30 AM IST)
Venue: United Center, Chicago, IL
Charlotte Hornets Preview
The Charlotte Hornets have been on a losing spree of late. They've only won one of their last six games and have slipped to the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference with a 28-29 record. They're still without the likes of Gordon Hayward and LaMelo Ball, but the latter is expected to return soon from his wrist injury rehab. Malik Monk is also set to miss the game against the Chicago Bulls.
Devonte' Graham has been unable to elevate his production significantly in the absence of Charlotte Hornets' key players. He's also missed a couple of games in between. Graham has averaged 14.4 points and 5.4 assists per game in April but has just shot the ball at just 36.2% from the field.
In comparison, PJ Washington has showcased good potential. He also missed three games with an ankle sprain but has recorded 26 and 23 points respectively in his last two outings for the Charlotte Hornets.
Key Player - Terry Rozier
Terry Rozier is the only player on the Charlotte Hornets who has risen to the occasion in the absence of other key players. Rozier has averaged 26 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and 1.6 steals through the last four games, but his side has only won once during this tenure. Rozier managed just 10 points in the last game against the Chicago Bulls and will be looking to do better this time around.
Charlotte Hornets Predicted Lineup
G Terry Rozier, G Devonte' Graham, F Jalen McDaniels, F Miles Bridges, C PJ Washington
Chicago Bulls Preview
The out-of-form Chicago Bulls have won only two of their last eight fixtures. They showcased some signs of rejuvenation after beating the Boston Celtics on Monday but slumped to a deflating loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers last night. The Bulls have played uninspiring basketball in general lately, but defense continues to be their Achilles heel.
The Chicago Bulls have suffered due to the absence of Zach LaVine, who has missed the last four games due to COVID-19 protocols. He's set to be sidelined against the Charlotte Hornets as well. Troy Brown Jr. is also questionable for the game with an ankle injury.
LaVine's injury has put the spotlight on sophomore Coby White, who has increased his production sans efficiency. White has averaged 18 points through the last four outings but has shot the ball only at 36.6% during this period. He has taken up playmaking responsibilities for the Chicago Bulls, though, averaging 7.7 assists per game in LaVine's absence.
Key Player - Nikola Vucevic
Nikola Vucevic struggled immensely last night against the Cleveland Cavaliers but it was just a minor blip on what has been a successful season for him so far. Vucevic has averaged 22.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game while playing for the Chicago Bulls this year. The Montenegrin has faced the Charlotte Hornets twice this season as a member of the Orlando Magic, managing a combined 50 points and 25 rebounds in those two outings.
Chicago Bulls Predicted Lineup
G Coby White, G Garrett Temple, F Patrick Williams, F Daniel Theis, C Nikola Vucevic
Hornets vs Bulls Match Prediction
Both the Charlotte Hornets and the Chicago Bulls will be hopeful of eking out a win in this contest but the former seems better equipped for the occasion. The Hornets have a mobile frontcourt which is good enough to restrict Vucevic. In comparison, the Bulls do not have the defensive steam to prevent Terry Rozier from going off. Having a better defensive unit, in general, helps the Hornets' cause and they should reign supreme in this matchup.
Where to watch Hornets vs Bulls?
Local coverage of this game will be available on Bally Sports Southeast–Charlotte and NBC Sports Chicago. You can also live stream the same via the NBA League Pass.