Game 51: Chicago Bulls (27-24) lose to Charlotte Hornets (26-26), 108-91
February 8, 2016
Time Warner Cable Arena – Charlotte, North Carolina
The losses just kept on piling up for the Bulls on Monday night.
They were already without Jimmy Butler (knee sprain), but Derrick Rose was ruled out less than an hour before gametime with what has been labeled as “general body soreness.”
The combined absences of Butler and Rose made it all the more difficult for the Bulls to grab a win on the last game of their seven-game road trip, and so they were defeated 108-91 by the Hornets in disappointing fashion.
The Bulls allowed the Hornets to set the tempo of the game early on, not giving the best effort on either end of the court. The Hornets scored a whopping 38-points in the first quarter, nearly doubling the Bulls’ first-quarter total of 20. It certainly didn’t help that the Bulls settled for jumpers and lacked quality ball movement either.
In the second quarter, the Hornets slowed down, scoring 19 points, but the Bulls didn’t do too much better with 22 points. The Bulls simply couldn’t put together the runs they needed to catch up. The best the Bulls could do was a 6-2 run around the 5:00 mark that cut down their 20-point deficit. Come halftime, they still trailed 52-47.
Pau Gasol made a 3-pointer to beat the halftime buzzer, but they Bulls couldn’t capitalize on that momentum heading into the second half.
After opening the third with nine points, the Bulls went scoreless for over four minutes. By the time the Bulls scored again, the Hornets had reestablished a 20-plus point lead.
The Bulls cut that lead down to 13 in the final period, but, ultimately, nothing had changed: Their offense was still inefficient, they couldn’t get defensive stops and their deficit was too large to overcome.
Player of the Game
Walker was the game’s leading scorer with 30 points on 8-of-19 shooting. He played an aggressive offensive game, getting to the free throw line 13 times, another game high, making 10 of them. He also added seven rebounds, eight assists and a game-high three steals.
Gasol carried the Bulls and played a large part in making their loss less of an embarrassment than it already was. He had a near triple-double of 22 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists and added two steals and three blocks.
Despite the large point differential between the two teams, both the Bulls and Hornets made 35 field goals. The difference came on their attempts, and the Bulls actually attempted 10 more shots than the Hornets at 90. It just goes to show the Bulls needed to try more to catch up and make up for their mistakes.
Considering both teams made the same number of field goals, the biggest difference came in the teams’ free throw attempts. The Hornets’ 31 free throw attempts gave them so many more opportunities to score compared to the Bulls’ 14, and they certainly took advantage of that. The Hornets made 24 free throws while the Bulls made 11.
The Bulls will head home to play the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. before All-Star break.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.