The game was tied at 94 all with 2:00 to play. It was anybody’s game, but the Charlotte Hornets made the key plays leaving Chicago with its 2nd home loss. Chicago is now 7-2 at the United Center.
Chicago had a chance to win this game, but its poor shooting did them in. They only made 1-6 attempts in the final two minutes as Charlotte converted its free-throws and had a basket by G Kemba Walker (17) with 28.9 seconds to play. The Bulls were out-scored 30-21 in the fourth quarter.
“We came in with a lot of more energy,” said Cody Zeller who also scored 17 points.
Nicholas Batum, led Charlotte with 24 on some nice three-pointers in the final frame that gave the Hornets some wiggle room. They used it and they escaped with the win.
“I didn’t know if we were going to win, but I knew we were going to play well,” said Coach Steve Clifford of Charlotte. The team played the game without big man Al Jefferson.
Chicago and Charlotte both shot 41.1 from the field. And for the Bulls, that is not getting it done. Jimmy Butler led the team in scoring with 25 and he played almost 39 minutes. Rose had a good game, going for 19 points at an almost .500 clip from the field (8/17), but that wasn’t enough. Pau Gasol had 13 points and 11 boards. The Bulls looked to be in this game, but Charlotte was the more aggressive team and played hard. “We were intense,” Clifford said. That may be been the difference in the game. The Bulls beat the Spurs, had just enough to get by Denver, and now had come up short vs. the Hornets.
If the Bulls don’t come out with the intensity they did vs. the Spurs, then they are jeopardy of losing to whomever they play. The Bulls are good, but they are not that good. “We missed some really good looks,” said Coach Fred Hoiberg of the Bulls. He was referring to both Butler and Doug McDermott who had opportunities but didnt’ cash in the closing moments.
This is a play-making league. Those who do make the plays, often come out on top. Charlotte, backed by Batum’s 12 fourth quarter points, made more plays. “We stuck togother, especially with Al (Jefferson) out,” said Batum.