The Chicago Bulls found its scoring touch, and it came in the nick of time.
The Bulls have been going through scoring woes, hitting 83 points vs. the Clippers, and in this game, netting only 84 points with 4:28 to play in the 4th quarter. The Bulls, on the strength of the reserves, started making baskets, and rallied in the closing minutes to defeat the upstart New Orleans Pelicans, 98-94.
The Pelicans, 6-17, and 0-7 in the second game of back-to-backs, looked like easy pickings. But the talented Anthony Davis scored 22 points. He was complemented by a fine game from Tyreke Evans who also had 22 points for the Pelicans.
However the Bulls, on the strength of a 34-24 fourth quarter, rallied and managed to get by on the great night from backup guard Aaron Brooks, who scored 15 points in the final frame. Joakim Noah, who scored a season high 10 points with nine boards, supplied the energy and fire, and the Bulls had just enough to earn the home win.
A Brooks basket with :40 seconds left broke a 94 all tie…and Derrick Rose, who played without a mask for the first time this season, hit a 15 foot step-back jumper to give the Bulls a 98-94 lead with just seconds remaining to secure the victory.
Six Bulls scored in double-figures, led by Pau Gasol’s 18 points. Brooks had 17, making 6 of 7 shots in the fourth quarter. Doug McDermott had 12 including a big three-pointer in the fourth quarter. Niko Mirotic had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Chicago shot 42% for the game. The reserves accounted for 52 points in the game. Head coach Fred Hoiberg said it was nice to see the second unit with so much energy to sway the outcome. He gave credit to Joakim Noah who looked like he was going to chest-bump people in the seats after a made basket.
Hoiberg said, he is trying different combinations, mixing and matching, to find the potent formula to put points on the board. Forward Doug McDermott, who played a key role in the win, thought the offense was slowly coming together.
“In reality, it’s going to start flowing a little bit,” McDermott said.
The Bulls have so much talent and are deep. If they do find the right combinations, they will be exciting to watch.
They were exciting Saturday night, but because they rarely held the lead, and forged ahead late in the fourth quarter due of an unexpected surge from Brooks. It helped that the Pelicans were playing their second game in a row.
“We really wore down the Pelicans,” McDermott added. “They played last night so they were a little tired.”
Anthony Davis played a terrific game, hitting a full complement of shots, and was a force in the low post but he couldn’t stop a determined Bulls charge. Pau Gasol hit a basket with 2:05 remaining to give Chicago a 94-91 lead. The game was tied with 1:48 left and then Chicago went to the dramatics, with Rose’s shot at :12 giving the Bulls its four point lead.
The Bulls (13-8) have won two in a row since it’s 3 game losing streak, but that seems in the past now.