Worn-Out Chicago Bulls fall short in 96-60 Overtime Loss to Pelicans

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 4: Anthony Davis
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 4: Anthony Davis /

Despite an overall solid effort, the Chicago Bulls couldn’t hang on to beat the Pelicans in the United Center.

It’s been something of an emotional rollercoaster of a week in Chicago Bulls basketball (or as much as you can while you’re in rebuild mode). A full week now removed from a gruesome loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Bulls have a returned sense of competence.

Though the team played well down the stretch, it was too little, too late. However, they again gave fans oodles of reasons to keep their heads up.

For four quarters of action, and even for a solid portion of overtime, Fred Hoiberg’s Baby Bulls held a tough Pelicans team in check. Unfortunately, they came up just short on a few key possessions that would’ve put them in position to win.

As a whole, the game was ugly (and trust me, I’ve watched some ugly games), but the teams ended quarter one knotted at 19 points a piece. Consider that this is an NBA game; neither team cracked the 20-point mark in the first 12 minutes of play.

Neither team shot the ball particularly well, but three pointers became a luxury item. The Pelicans shot 9-of-31 from three point range, the Bulls shooting 11-of-42.

It’s apparent that the Bulls picked the wrong night to do their Houston Rockets impression. With Justin Holiday’s faux-James-Harden game, his 7-of-20 and 3-of-10 from the field might’ve hurt the team in some regards. Credit where credit is due, his team-high 18 points seemed to jolt the offense from time to time.

After a solid performance against Orlando, Holiday missed a lot of shots, but the Bulls bigs had issues of their own. 

Boogie Cousins and Anthony Davis gave Lauri Markkanen and Robin Lopez all kinds of problems, especially late in the game. Davis picked up 27 points (11-of-17 shooting) Cousins picked of 25 points, hitting 11-of-13 from the free-throw line.

The key set of Cousins free-throws came at the 2:35 mark in overtime. Robin Lopez could Cousins on a three, but was noticeably upset with the call. having to be held back by Denzel Valentine in order to avoid a technical.

Boogie hit two of those three free throws, put the game at 91-86 Pelicans. From there, the Bulls offense struggled to find life, giving those free throws the emotional weight to seal the game.

Markkanen scored 14 points, but shot 5-of-16 from the floor and just 2-of-11 from three. Tonight, we saw the Bulls’ rookie look a fatigued, often missing good looks from the field.

Last night’s loss came as the Bulls third game in four days, the symptoms were quite evident. They’ll have a pair of days off before returning to Toronto on Tuesday night.

Unfortunately, the Bulls will head to Toronto without the help of David Nwaba. The forward who earned a starting spot this week went down at the 5:17 mark of the third quarter. The word on the street is he’s sprained his right ankle, so we’ll have to wait and see how that develops.