This was supposed to be a fun game, even without Derrick Rose. With Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis and Anthony Davis's Unibrow, the New Orleans Hornets were supposed to be a fun, up and coming team and League Pass darlings.
But Eric Gordon is out for 4-6 weeks with a knee injury, and Anthony Davis, a Chicago native, suffered a concussion in last night's win over the Utah Jazz, and will not play tonight. Sadly, as the Hornets play in the West, this was to be Davis's only visit to the United Center this year. He'll be back at some point next year, but that's a while from now.
The Bulls, meanwhile, are trying to improve to 3-0 to start a season for the first time since 1996-97 and build on a ridiculous performance in Cleveland last night. There's plenty of reason to believe they will do so, since the Hornets are without their two best players and weren't all that good to begin with. Exciting? Probably. Good? No.
Chicago will look to Carlos Boozer and Rip Hamilton to pick up where they left off last night, while hoping that Luol Deng can find himself again. Deng hasn't been bad, per se, but he hasn't been great, either. But if the defense plays the way it did last night, it may not matter.
Key Matchup: Carlos Boozer v. Ryan Anderson
Anderson, projected to start in place of Davis, is a plus outside shooter and a solid rebounder. He has little hope of handling Boozer defensively, assuming Boozer plays aggressively in the post. The problem is that Boozer is going to struggle to defend Anderson just as much as the other way around. Boozer, with his depressing ability to get lost defensively, will have to stay with an excellent three point shooter and close out even as he attempts to help inside. I actually wouldn't be surprised to see Boozer assigned to Robin Lopez, with Joakim Noah taking Anderson. Noah, at least, can close out on shooters effectively.
Projected Starting Fives
New Orleans Hornets: Greivis Vasquez, PG; Austin Rivers, SG; Robin Lopez, C; Ryan Anderson, PF; Al-Faroq Aminu, SF.Tags: Anthony Davis, Anthony Davis's Unibrow, Carlos Boozer, Chicago, Chicago Bulls, Eric Gordon, Luol Deng, NBA, New Orleans Hornets, Rip Hamilton