Chicago Bulls falter down the stretch against New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 22: Jerian Grant
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 22: Jerian Grant /

The Chicago Bulls traveled to the Smoothie King Center to play the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night. The Bulls were looking for their fifth win in six games.

Still without the services of Kris Dunn who is indefinitely with a concussion, the Chicago Bulls traveled to New Orleans and used a dominant start to the fourth quarter to seize a commanding lead against the Pelicans.

Despite holding a 16 point advantage in the fourth quarter, Chicago would fall apart down the stretch. DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis led New Orleans back into the game.

Pelicans would go on to win in double overtime behind this insane stat line from Boogie Cousins: 44 points, 24 rebounds and 10 assists in 52 minutes of action. Cousins is the first player since Wilt Chamberlain to achieve those numbers in a game.

First Half

Chicago Bulls fans everywhere should have loved the start to this game. Zach LaVine showcased that touted athleticism on a pair of dunks courtesy of Lauri Markkanen.

Markkanen fired an absolute laser beam here over the head of Rajon Rondo to LaVine for an easy dunk, catching the Pelicans slow to get back in transition. That pass was Kevin Love-esque.

Not shown here is Markkanen grabbing the rebound on defense, taking the ball up the court and then using a Robin Lopez screen to get a head of steam driving toward the basket.

While the Bulls had some nifty highlights in the first quarter, they struggled shooting, going 1-for-9 from three. Justin Holiday alone was 0-for-4. Despite having an eight point advantage in points in the paint, Chicago trailed by four heading into the second quarter.

Bulls struggled mightily in the first 5:38 of the second quarter, managing only five points. Chicago trailed by 13 before LaVine and Nikola Mirotic combined for eight points in less than a minute to close the gap.

Cousins finished the half with 10 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, a small preview of what was to come in the second half and overtime.

Meanwhile, the Bulls continued their struggles from behind the arc, finishing the half 3-of-15, while the Pelicans went 9-for-21.

Halftime: Chicago 48 – New Orleans 54

Second Half

The third quarter turned into lob city with Chicago and New Orleans trading alley-oop for alley-oop.

It is really something watching Boogie and AD play together. Their chemistry is something to behold and Boogie’s passing opens up so much, especially when he threads the needle like in the play above.

Not to be outdone, Jerian Grant found Markkanen streaking down the court for his own lop, plus the foul.

You’re probably thinking to yourself about now, wow you’re putting a lot of dunking highlights in here. Well, you’re not wrong, but there was dunks galore Monday night. I think AD alone threw down five lobs (unofficial stat).

Grant had eight of his 13 assists in the third quarter and was playing well up until the Bulls collapse, when he reverted back to dribbling aimlessly and going nowhere with the ball. Come back Kris Dunn!

The Bulls opened the fourth quarter on a ridiculous run, scoring 20 points in the first 3:24 of the quarter to take a 15 point lead. David Nwaba played a key role in this, bringing his trademark hustle and defense into the fray and disrupting the Pelicans offense.

But, the Bulls would be the Bulls and throw away the lead down the stretch of the fourth quarter once Nwaba and Mirotic exited.

In the last four and a half minutes of regulation, Boogie and AD combined for 18 points. Outside of one Cousins 3-pointer, all the points came at the foul line or from dunks. Simply put, Chicago’s defense fell apart while its offense sputtered.

Holiday was fouled on a 3-point attempt to win at the end of the fourth, but missed the final free throw, taking the game to overtime.


The overtime periods were pretty ugly and New Orleans had a wide open look from 3 to end the first overtime, but Ian Clark airballed the shot.

Markkanen impressed, however and had another nice drive for a dunk along with a nice block on Jrue Holiday.

Next: Despite the loss, Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen finished with a double double.

The Finnisher’s defense continues to be ahead of where many thought and his all-around game was a bright spot in the dreary fourth quarter and overtimes.

Final: Chicago 128 – New Orleans 132


Boogie and AD for life. Those two combined for 78 points, 33 rebounds, 15 assists and six steals and totally sucked the life out of the Bulls during the comeback.

Lauri blowing by AD twice for dunks was a treat. Despite again not making a single 3-pointer, Lauri made his presence felt with 17 rebounds and some nice drives to the rim

Nice to see E’twaun Moore doing well. He put LaVine in a blender with a double spin move.