(Photo credit: Jonathan Daniel – Getty Images)
Game 35: Chicago Bulls (17-18) defeat Charlotte Hornets (19-16), 118-111
Jan. 2, 2017
United Center – Chicago
Dwyane Wade sat out with a swollen left knee, leaving a hole in the Bulls’ lineup. Doug McDermott took Wade’s starting spot, but it was Jimmy Butler who picked up the scoring that Wade would typically provide.
The game was very back-and-forth, as neither team’s leads were really secure. That is, not until Jimmy Butler’s fourth quarter takeover.
Butler scored 17 points in the last period of the game, and he did so by scoring in various ways: drives to the basket, making free throws and knocking down jump shots.
Player of the Game
Jimmy Butler did it all Monday night. He scored a game-high 52 points on 15-for-24 from the field. He grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, dished out a team-high six assists, had three steals and even got a block.
With Rajon Rondo receiving yet another “DNP-Coach’s Decision,” Michael Carter-Williams joined the starting lineup, and Jerian Grant filled in as the backup point guard. Grant did well in the role, posting a team-high six assists — which tied Butler — and a game-high four steals. Grant also added nine points on 4-of-10 shooting.
The Bulls were exceptional from the free throw line, but really, it was Jimmy Butler who was exceptional at getting to the free throw line. Butler had 22 of the Bulls’ 29 free throw attempts, missing just one of them. This just goes to show how much Chicago relied on Butler and how much credit he really deserves for the win.
Chicago did well on the glass, outrebounding Charlotte 44-35. Even though it was never by a great amount, the Bulls’ rebounding efforts helped them stay in the game. Considering the Bulls have had difficulties scoring this season, it’s important that they can win the rebounding battle, so they can maximize their scoring opportunities. And Chicago did just that by grabbing 14 offensive rebounds while Charlotte had half of that.
The Bulls may not have slowed down the Hornets’ scoring, as the Hornets shot 49.4 percent from the field, but Chicago did make up for that somewhat by posting 10 steals to the Hornets’ six.
Dwyane Wade was out with a swollen left knee. Denzel Valentine sprained his ankle in the third quarter and did not return to the game.
The Bulls will face the defending champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wednesday at 7 p.m. central.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.