The Chicago Bulls solidified their conference seeding as a No. 4 seed with a 91-86 overtime loss to the Charlotte Bobcats in their regular season finale Wednesday night.
The game was evenly matched to begin with. Carlos Boozer got off to a good start by scoring eight points in the first quarter. He helped contribute to the Bulls’ 10-0 run that gave Chicago the 18-10 lead towards the end of the period. Charlotte was able to cut the lead in half, but Chicago still took it going into the second quarter.
D.J. Augustin returned after missing Monday’s game due to the birth of his son. He scored the Bulls’ first points of the quarter off a three from the top of the key, and he even had a chance at a four-point play; however, Augustin missed the free throw.
Soon enough, though, Chicago extended their lead over Charlotte in double digits with some stellar defense. But then Al Jefferson returned to the lineup for the Bobcats, and he joined Kemba Walker in leading the comeback.
A dunk from Cody Zeller at the 2:57 mark of the second period tied the game at 35, and the Bobcats went up from there. In fact, Zeller even got in another dunk halftime came around.
Charlotte took control of the game, and forced Chicago to play at their fast pace. As a result, the Bulls went into halftime trailing 43-39.
With such a slim deficit, though, the Bulls were able to tie the game a few minutes into the third quarter. A jumper from Boozer tied the game at 49, but Josh McRoberts quickly took the game back for the Bobcats with a three. Kirk Hinrich hit a three of his own, though, and tied the game back up at 52.
The score remained tight, but Chicago took the one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Bulls extended that lead to five points, but the Bobcats weren’t going anywhere. Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 12 points in the period to tied the game at 75.
Hinrich came up in the clutch by hitting a left corner three to take back the lead, but Charlotte closed the quarter strong enough to tie the game at 80 and force overtime.
Overtime was filled with sloppy play from the Bulls that led to turnovers. The Bobcats, however, took control of the game to outscore the Bulls 11-6 and run away with the victory.
Chicago shot 39.5 percent from the field and only connected on 66.7 percent of its free throws. The Bulls were out-rebounded by the Bobcats 53-44, as well as outscored in the paint 42-28.
All of Chicago’s starters scored in double figures, but Augustin led the team in scoring with 17 points. Noah had a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds to go along with six assists, one steal and two blocks.
The Bulls end the regular season with a 48-34 record, and will begin play their first game of the playoffs Sunday at 6 p.m. central at the United Center. Their opponent is yet to be decided, but they will either face the Brooklyn Nets or the Washington Wizards. Check back later for an update.
UPDATE: The Bulls will face the Washington Wizards in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.