The Chicago Bulls were back home in the United Center after that dreadful 1-5 circus road trip. They were glad to be back in the confines of Chicago as they hosted the New Orleans Pelicans. This game was supposed to be the welcome back home game, and the Bulls were supposed to take care of business. Well, it did not go quite like that as the Pelicans beat the Bulls 131-128 in a dramatic triple overtime thriller.
The Bulls did play with more energy and passion this night. They were very active on the offensive side of the ball, something we haven’t seen in a while. The ball movement and the cutting to the basket were more precise than it’s been, but it just wasn’t enough to overtake the Pelicans as the Bulls suffered their first home loss of the season.
The defense was nowhere to be found in this game as there were way too many mental breakdowns and the rotations were very slow. The game winner was a wide open lane for Jrue Holiday to cut right to the basket and finish with an and one. The Bulls looked lethargic and the legs were tired. Many of the Bulls saw major court time as Luol Deng, Kirk Hinirch and Joakim Noah all played over 50 minutes. Taj Gibson and Mike Dunleavy clocked in over 40 minutes off the bench.
One positive of this game was Deng continuing his leadership role and always being in attack mode. He kept the Bulls in the game with a game-high 37 points to go along with eight rebounds and seven assists. Another Bull that contributed big time numbers was Gibson, who added 26 points, 14 boards and five blocks. Dunleavy is starting to get his rhythm as well, chipping in 23 points and five assists, and Noah was all over the court with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
One guy that’s been struggling since Derrick Rose went down with his knee injury is Carlos Boozer. He had another tough night only going 2-for-6 from the field in 26 minutes. The Bulls have to find a way to get Boozer back on track with his offensive game. When Boozer is clicking, hitting his jumper and dominating in the post, that helps the Bulls’ offensive game be much smoother.
After this heartbreaking and dramatic loss, the Bulls fall to 7-9. They showed a lot of heart and determination so the team is playing hard to get back to some consistency. They must forget about this game, watch some film and get prepared for the defending champion Miami Heat in a few days. What a way to be welcomed back home.