clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Bulls vs. Hornets Recap: Chicago Stops Their Skid with a 115-109 Victory Over Charlotte

New, comments

Four players scored 20+ points for the Bulls as the team shot a personal season-high 40 three-point attempts.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Rajon Rondo made his first appearance in the starting lineup since November of last year as the Chicago Bulls managed to pull out a 115-109 win over the Charlotte Hornets on the road Monday night. The game also featured the emphatic return of Nikola Mirotic to the Bulls’ rotation, and Chicago also would go on to play one of their finest offensive halves of basketball this game after laying a turd in the first half against the Celtics on Sunday.

Frankly, no one would believe this Bulls team could score 36 points in the first quarter after the historically-anemic first half they played in Boston yesterday, but that’s exactly what happened out of the gate. In fact, the Bulls would score twenty points through the first six minutes of the game and would go on to equate their first half total from Sunday with a little under three minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Bulls as a team had eleven assists during the period, and say what you want about Rondo and Fred Hoiberg’s decision to thrust him back into starter status, but it clearly was the right choice initially for getting Chicago back on track offensively. In addition to Rondo’s uncharacterisitically hot shooting in the first (11 points on 4-5 shooting), the whole team would go on to shoot a scalding 61.5% on 13 attempts from the perimeter for the quarter thanks to excellent ball movement:

The first quarter concluded with the Bulls up 36-24.

Though Chicago’s blistering performance from downtown tapered off considerably in the second quarter (3-10 from distance for the period), the committment to moving the ball as a team did not. Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, and Rondo would go on to tally fifteen total assists for the half, and the Bulls as a team assisted on 18 of their 21 made field goals through the opening two quarters. It was truly one of the finest offensive team-performances the Bulls have had in a half all season. Wade also absolutely rejected the hell out of Marvin Williams on a break earlier on in the period:

The Bulls did ultimately end up losing the second quarter by a mere two points, but the team still went into the locker room with a 58-48 lead over the Hornets.

Charlotte opened the third quarter promptly with a 9-2 run to cut the Bulls’ lead down to three and would outplay Chicago for much of the period until late. Fortunately, the Bulls never completely fell off offensively, and would spend much of the quarter trading baskets with the Hornets while still managing to stay in front slightly for the entirety of that stretch. Then, the Bulls exploded for a 7-2 run in the final minute that allowed them to rebuild a double-digit lead going into the fourth quarter, and as a result Chicago entered the last twelve minutes of the game with an 87-77 lead. It’s also worth noting that Wade suffered a calf injury mid-way through the third, but Jeff Tanaka never took him back to the locker room (despite the injury forcing Wade to remain on the floor for an entire defensive posession), and he eventually re-entered the game.

Wade began the final quarter of the contest with eight points through the first six minutes, and all the while the Bulls continued to move the ball with great unselfishness for open looks (with the lone exception being when fan favorite Cameron Payne was in the game). However, as was the case with the entirety of the second half, the Bulls could not get consistent stops on defense to generate any sort of extended run, and as a result Charlotte managed to stay within two to three scores heading into the closing minutes of the game. Fortunately, Nikola Mirotic—making his return to the rotation—manage to score some key baskets late to keep the Bulls in front down the stretch, and Chicago managed to hit enough of their freethrows in the final minute to pull out a 115-109 victory over Charlotte.

Four Bulls scored 20+ points in the win, with perhaps the most notable performance coming from off the bench via Mirotic. After being uncerimoniously relegated into Fred Hoiberg’s doghouse until this evening, Mirotic responded in his first game back by leading the Bulls in scoring and rebounds with 24 points on 5-12 shooting from deep and 11 boards. Meanwhile, Butler/Wade/Rondo combined for 66 points, 22 assists, 14 rebounds, five steals, and four blocks. In an inexplicably-bizzare turn of events, the three of them also all shot 8-15 from the field. Mike From Illinois’ homework tonight is to find out when the last time was that the Bulls had three players score 20 points and dish 5 assists each.

This was a good win for a team that desperately needed to steer out of a five game slide, although the Hornets were missing Nicolas Batum and have been in somewhat of a slump themselves despite Kemba Walker playing masterful basketball since the All-Star break. Up next, the Bulls will take on the Memphis Grizzlies at home on Wednesday, another team that has underperformed as of late.