Mirotic & Gasol Lead Bulls Past Hornets, 98-86.

Nikola Mirotic has come on like gangbusters. He scored 28 points, 14 in the fourth quarter to help the  Chicago Bulls clinch a playoff spot in  the Eastern Conference. Pau Gasol had 27 points and 12 rebounds, a typical game for him.  The Bulls moved into a tie with Toronto for the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference.

Jimmy Butler returned to action and tallied 19 points in just under 40 minutes of play. He also bagged 9 boards. Butler last played on March 1st and missed 11 games. He was a little rusty and shot 6-20 from the floor, but he’s been out for almost a month. This week both Taj Gibson and Butler have returned to the active roster which can only bolster the team’s playoff hopes. Derrick Rose is likely at least a week away from trying to come back from his latest knee injury.

Chicago has had injuries to Mike Dunleavy, Derrick Rose, Butler, Gibson, Noah, and Kirk Hinrick this season. Reserves such as Mirotic, Tony Snell, and Aaron Brooks have played key roles in keeping the Bulls afloat.

Chicago pulled ahead of the Hornets in the second half on the way to a 98-86 win. Charlotte’s Kemba Walker had 29 points for the Hornets, who only shot 35 percent from the field. The Bulls had a decent shooting night, hitting 45% from the floor.

Joakim Noah, who has played well of late for Chicago, was held out of the game due to general soreness.

Gasol moved to center and Taj Gibson started at forward.

Chicago faces Toronto on the road on Wednesday in a battle for playoff seeding.

Richard Kagan

Contributing writer at Hardwood Nation. Contributing writer at Boomer-Living Plus.

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