Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011
By Christopher Cason
Returning home after a winning two week west coast road trip, the Bulls now turn their attention to the Charlotte Bobcats as they try to avoid being swept in the season series.
While Charlotte has won the previous two meetings, the Bulls have been a few late game mishaps and a last second shot away from the outcome of those games being in their favor.
In the last game here, the big thing was we turned the ball over and they converted in transition, said Tom Thibodeau about the teams 13 turnovers that Charlotte turned into 16 fastbreak points in the 83-82 loss on Jan. 18. That was the biggest thing that they did against us.
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The Bobcats lineup of Stephen Jackson at shooting guard, Gerald Wallace at small forward and Boris Diaw at power forward has given the Bulls trouble with their size and versatility, especially on the defensive ends as theyve been able to switch on pick and rolls and not lose any ground defensively.
Theyre different in the sense that they do a lot of switching defensively, said Thibodeau. I think offensively we have to do a better job of taking care of the ball. The turnovers that we had, they were live-ball turnovers. So it put them in the open floor and for us thats a problem. If we can get defensively set, we feel pretty good about our defense but if its in the open floor and it creates three-on-one fastbreak opportunities for them, those breaks are difficult to stop.
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Perhaps, no other Bobcat has benefited more from being cut from Larry Browns control more than third year point guard D.J. Augustine. Hes displayed the floor game under new coach Paul Silas and has seen an increase in not only his production, but his confidence as well.
Augustine has given friend and draft-mate Derrick Rose his share of problems this season as hes averaging 18 points and 8 assists in the two games against Chicago.
Rose, however, is coming off two impressive performances against two of the names that are beginning to get mentioned after his in discussions of the leagues best point guard.
In wins over the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Hornets, Rose finished with averages of 26 points and 6 assists while Deron Williams and Chris Paul finished a combined 26 points and 18 assists on 8-23 shooting from the field.
While Paul and Williams are more highly regarded, the Bulls arent taken Augustine lightly.
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Hes a terrific player, said Thibodeau. Every night, youre faced with those challenges. If you overlook a guy like D.J. Augustine hes terrific. Sometimes, he probably doesnt get the credit that he deserves and when you look at the past couple of years there when Raymond Felton was there, both of them played extremely well and played well together at times. This is a guy whos very confident, hes a good player and he shoots the ball extremely well. If you give him open shots, hes going to make you pay and hes been playing at a very high level for them.
The Bulls are hoping to avoid a letdown in energy after the extended road trip, but wanting to get back at Charlotte for the way theyve lost their past two matchups against them should provide plenty incentive to bring forth their best effort.
They beat us both games, said Rose. We want to get some revenge when we play them and just try to keep it hard on them throughout the entire game. If we come out and play very aggressive and with a lot of energy, I think the game should be very easy for us especially because weve been wanting to play them and we want a little bit of revenge. If our energy is high, we should have no problem.
This will be the second night of a back to back for the Bobcats who come into the game off an impressive 109-89 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.