The Bulls were set up pretty well for a good showing against the Pelicans on Saturday night. New Orleans laid it all out on the floor in a huge victory over the Thunder on Friday night, and Chicago enjoyed two days off after the ugly showing in Houston. Things didn't start well, but aided by an injury to Anthony Davis, the Bulls ran away from the Pelicans in a 107-72 victory. The winning margin was Chicago's largest of the season and the victory ended a three-game losing streak.
The first quarter looked awfully similar to the Rockets game, with the Bulls' lethargic offense tossing up a bunch of bricked jumpers. Outside of Derrick Rose of course, who made 3-of-5 in the first quarter en route to a solid 20-point effort in 28 minutes. Rose shot 8-of-15 overall and 2-of-5 from three (he made his first two), and he really controlled the show in the third quarter when Chicago blew things open. (THREE ASSISTS)
The Pelicans had a lot of success in the paint in the early going, but they had nothing going outside the paint, which allowed the Bulls to stay close despite the poor early shooting. Chicago's offense started to wake up in the second quarter thanks to Tony Snell, who played by far his best game of the season after a couple of DNP-CDs. Snell knocked down two threes in the second quarter, and he finished with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting overall and 5-of-6 from three-point land. The five threes tied a career high.
The Pelicans actually led by two points midway through the second quarter when Davis went down hard after a ridiculous alley-oop. Davis left with the game tied a few minutes later, and from that point on, it was a bloodbath. The Bulls went into halftime up nine points, and then it all got really ugly in the third quarter with Davis out of the lineup and Kirk Hinrich sidelined with a left turf toe injury. (Yes, I had to mention this.)
The Bulls opened the second half with a 20-3 run, and the Pelicans simply looked more and more defeated as the third quarter went on. New Orleans labored to get anything going offensively, and Chicago turned all those stops into buckets on the other end. (Funny how that works, eh?) It was, gasp, actually fun to watch the Bulls again, which hasn't happened much recently.
The entire fourth quarter was gar-bage time (although Jimmy Butler still got some court time and Taj Gibson hurt his ankle again), and it got fun in the last few minutes. We finally got a Doug McDermott sighting with just over four minutes left, and McDermott promptly scored nine points in four minutes because of course he did. We saw a three-ball and even his mythical post game! I doubt it will actually mean anything to Thibs, but it was great to see the rookie hoop a bit in those final minutes.
Also, HOLY SHIT E'TWAUN MOORE:
Even despite shooting just over 30 percent in the first quarter, the Bulls managed to shoot 51.2 percent overall and 10-of-22 from three. In addition to the strong performances from Rose and Snell, Pau Gasol added 20 points and 15 rebounds for his 11th straight double-double, a career high. Jimmy Butler finished with 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting even after a horrendous shooting start. Butler also dished out five assists.
The fact that Davis missed much of this one was obviously a huge factor, but it was nice to see the Bulls step on the Pelicans' throat with him out of the lineup. It was exactly what they should have done, and it allowed the starters to get some rest in advance of the game against the Magic tomorrow. The last outing against the Magic was a disaster, so let's hope we see a better effort in Orlando on Sunday and end this road trip on a high note.