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  • New Orleans guard Eric Gordon will play Tuesday night after being a late scratch for the team’s final game before the five-day break. Gordon practiced Monday and went through shootaround Tuesday. “The hand’s still pretty sore,” Gordon said. “Obviously that day last Wednesday, it was very painful and sore. I went over it with the doctors. It was just tough to play and tough to shoot the ball. It would’ve been tough for me to play. It (happened) on a little freak accident.”
  • The Hornets entered the All-Star break as hot as any team in the NBA, winning of 4 of 5. In fact, the plus-62 point margin over that stretch was highest in the league and the record was second-best to the Heat’s 5-0 run. It was only the second such stretch for the Hornets this season.
  • Expected Hornets starters: (F) Al-Farouq Aminu; (F) Anderson; (C) Robin Lopez; (G)  Gordon; (G) Greivis Vasquez
  • The Bulls are just 2-5 in February. But with just 29 games remaining, coach Tom Thibodeau said Chicago can’t afford to “ease back into” the stretch. The Bulls have the fifth-best record in the East. “You want to hit the ground running and be ready for the physicality of the game,” Thibodeau said. “We need to be ready for the speed of the game and that’s the challenge we face. The break is over. We need to get ready for what’s in front of us.”
  • The Bulls’ Nate Robinson has started the past seven games for Chicago and is averaging 15.6 points and eight assists per game during the stretch. Those are both higher than his season averages of 12 points and 4.2 assists per game.
  • Expected Bulls starters: (F) Carlos Boozer; (F) Luol Deng; (C) Joakim Noah; (G) Kirk Hinrich; (G) Richard Hamilton

Bradley Handwerger

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