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Bulls Dropped By Hornets In All Too Familar Game

The Bulls lose at home to a subpar opponent, again. But that feels moot, knowing what we know about Derrick Rose.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

By now, you've probably become accustomed to the remnants of a Chicago Bulls game without Rose: grinding, slow-paced, and hard to watch. The city of Chicago has gone through a rough past 24 hours, and the display the Bulls put forth against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night didn't make things any better, losing 98-86.

The game itself may seem almost trivial to some. In many ways, that's probably true. Dealing with the loss of Rose is more important than any singular game, which is why before we get into what transpired -- here's the latest on the Rose front:

Potentially, some good news. So make of that what you will, for now.

As for the game, Rose's replacement -- Aaron Brooks -- came out guns blazing, seemingly determined to reassure those who view him as the latest capable Rose stand-in. Brooks scored nine of Chicago's 20 points in the first quarter on 3-4 shooting. Brooks' energy and unquestioned ability as a three-point marksman gave a jolt to a sparse, shell-shocked United Center crowd.

The Rose Effect, indeed.

The crowd wasn't the only thing to show up late: only three players -- Brooks, Jimmy Butler, and Pau Gasol -- scored in the first quarter for Chicago. But the wheels didn't come off for the Bulls as they went to break tied 44-44, with the Bulls holding Charlotte to 40.5 percent shooting on just 1-7 (14.3 percent) from three.

One of the areas that'll be interesting to keep an eye on, especially if Brooks remains the starter in Rose's absence, is how the Bulls' defense will fare. Brooks isn't regarded as much of a defender given his diminutive stature, but in the month of February, the Bulls have been one of the league's best on that end. Although Charlotte is a bad offensive team, the Bulls still held up on that end of the floor tonight. They ultimately held Charlotte to under 100 points on sub-30 percent shooting from deep. It was the type of inspired effort one might've come to expect from a Rose-less Bulls team.

But the questions will remain on offense. Specifically, where do the Bulls find points consistently? That's not to say Rose was a model of consistency when he was healthy. But the added attention defense's once gave Rose now goes elsewhere.

Brooks' hot start turned ice cold, finishing with 12 points on 4-12 shooting. Pau Gasol -- who will become entrusted with an even larger burden on the offensive end now -- recorded his league-leading 38th double-double, ending up with 25 and 13. Jimmy Butler did not have a great night, scoring just 14 points, and now the pressure will be on Jimmy to continue to be a 20-point per game scorer on a nightly basis. Tony Snell and Nikola Mirotic did do a nice job combining for 16 points on 7-12 shooting.

But the Bulls offense just collapsed in the second half. They scored 42 points in total, outscored by 14 in the final 2 periods. Simply, they ran out of gas. Give some credit to Charlotte, though, as they are a very good defensive team. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist worked harder than every other player on the floor finishing with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Al Jefferson wasn't great, but he man-handled Gasol down the stretch to seal the win for Charlotte.

All in all, it's hard not to think about Derrick Rose after this loss. We've seen this exact game so many times before. It's one loss, the season isn't over, but man this one hurts more than it should. Sometimes, familiarity can be a real bitch.