In the first game played without guard Derrick Rose who is slated to undergo surgery to repair a torn meniscus muscle in his right knee, the Bulls missed his offense and fell to the Charlotte Hornets, 98-86 at the United Center.
Charlotte outscored the Bulls 31-21 in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Chicago only hit 44.2% from the floor, and shot a woeful 17.6% from three point territory. Pau Gasol notched his 38th double-double, tops in the League with 25 points and 13 rebounds. But no other Bull player had an effective night on the offense. Jimmy Butler, who has been the leading scorer, only had 14 points. Aaron Brooks, who filled in for Rose, had 12 on 4 for 12 shooting, and only made 1 long-distance shot in 5 attempts. He also was 3/8 from the line.
The Hornets came in and did not play the foil to a fragile team, which had just lost its leader. The Hornets had balanced scoring from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist who finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Mo Williams notched 17 points, and big man Al Jefferson had 16 points.
Joakim Noah only had 4 points. However, he had 8 assists and 11 rebounds. Kirk Hinrich added 8 points for the Bulls, which could not come up with the points when it needed them in the second half.
The loss drops the Bulls into a tie with Cleveland for the Central Division lead. Clearly, the team was in some degree of confusion after the shocking news that Rose would be inactive due to a serious knee injury.
Chicago is in the midst of a 7 game home stand that has Minnesota coming in next. Hopefully, the Bulls will be ready.