Bulls 99, Hornets 95 — FINAL
In a game that was going to be a blow out, at least on paper, it wasn’t until Derrick Rose hit a jumper with 19.4 seconds left in the game that Bulls fans could breath a sigh of relief.
Despite a valient effort by Rose and Joakim Noah, the Bulls never pulled away from the Hornets on Tuesday night resulting in an uncharactisically close game to a subpar team at home.
Bulls fans were flashing back to the Nets loss earlier this year at home where a raggedy New Jersey team rolled into the Windy City and rolled the Bulls. That wasn’t to be the case on Tuesday with the Hornets — at least not if Rose and NOah had anything to say about it.
Noah was coming off an incredible triple-double to stride into the All-Star break and kept up the stellar production grabbing 16 boards and chipping in 15 points. But it was how instrumental he was on what, at the time, looked like the game winning shot for the Bulls when he kicked the ball back to Rose who sunk a jumper to make it 97-95 Bulls.
“I take crazy shots like that in practice all the time, they just give me confidence to take those shots where they are looking for me,” Rose said. “We work on that in the end of practice. I stepped back and tried to shoot the ball up as high as I could.”
Rose stole the show but what else is new in Chicago? The reigning MVP finished with 32 points and 9 assists. But it was his final six points that made the most difference as it was the final points scored by either team inside the United Center. After making the highlight reel jump shot, Rose clinched the win sinking two free throws with around ten seconds to play.
Speaking of the highlight reel, Carlos Boozer had a respectable night as he seemed to hunker down and make the paint his home. Boozer went for 14 points and 7 rebounds but his finest play was a posterizing dunk on Chris Kaman — a dunk that was not only amazon to watch but was a sort of retaliation for the harsh treatment Kaman was giving Joakim Noah all night.
Tuesday also saw the return of Richard Hamilton to the lineup. Hamilton had missed the last month with a bruised upper thigh and was a last minute start for Chicago. He scored just 5 points in his return but played 17 minutes and began to work himself back into the flow of the Bulls offense.
But it was Rose’s last second heroics that once again saved the day. After the game Rose took a rare moment to relish in the spotlight and to acknowledge that he doesn’t try to get into game winning situations, but when he’s there he wants to be the best there is.
“I always think about my legacy here, taking those shots,” he said. “I want to be where I want to be at the end of my career.”
The Bulls have a quick turnaround as they visit the Spurs in San Antonio on Wednesday before taking a day off to prepare for the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Friday.