Nov 18, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler (21) dribbles past Charlotte Bobcats shooting guard Gerald Henderson (9) during the first quarter of their game at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls overcome Charlotte Bobcats in 86-81 win

In their final home game before the annual circus trip, the Chicago Bulls faced the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night. Both teams struggled on the offensive end, but Chicago ended up on top in the 86-81 victory.

Jimmy Butler made an impact early on by scoring 10 points in the first quarter. With his contribution, the Bulls started off strong. They held a five-point lead to end the first quarter, which then grew to as many as 10 points in the following period.

Then came the turnovers, and to go along with that, Charlotte began to thrive in the paint on a consistent basis. Chicago’s lead diminished, and by the time halftime came around, it had vanished completely. The Bobcats had gained a 44-40 lead.

What made the biggest impact in the lead change was the success the Bobcats experienced in the paint. They outscored the Bulls in that area 26-10 at halftime. Charlotte bailed Chicago out of a larger deficit by committing so many fouls, as they scored seven points off of free throws.

From that point on, the game remained a close one, but the Bulls would remain in front for the majority of the second half. The Bobcats maintained their lead about two and a half minutes into the third quarter, but once the Bulls broke the 46-46 tie, they never looked back.

The offensive droughts on Chicago’s end of the court persisted, but free throws still kept them in the game like they had in the first half.  It wasn’t until the latter portion of the fourth quarter that the Bulls found the bottom of the net.

Joakim Noah found Carlos Boozer for a reverse layup. Then Derrick Rose scored on a banked floater and a layup off a drive through the lane. Luol Deng sealed the win with a three-pointer from the top of the key, which gave Chicago an 85-81 lead.

Charlotte was unable to achieve anything useful after that and resorting to fouling to get stops in the clock. Rose split a pair of free throws to make up the final result.

Both teams shot around the same field goal percentage: 36.0% for Chicago and 36.3% for Charlotte, but the Bulls had the upper hand in three-point shooting and free throw shooting.

Deng led all players in scoring with 21 points, and also added eight rebounds, one assist and two blocks. Butler had 14 points, five rebounds and two steals. Boozer finished the night with a double-double of 12 points an 17 rebounds.

Chicago is now 6-3, 5-0 at home. Thursday, Nov. 21 marks the next game for the Bulls, as well as the first game of their annual circus road trip. They will take on former Bull Nate Robinson and the Denver Nuggets at 9:30 p.m. central.

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