Bulls 97, Hornets 88
Derrick Rose’s latest matchup against one of the NBA’s top point
guards left the New Orleans Arena crowd gasping at the Chicago
star’s array of spinning dribbles, slashing drives and running jump
Rose scored 23 points while holding Western Conference All-Star
starter Chris Paul in check, and the Bulls turned a 12-point
third-quarter deficit into a 97-88 victory over the New Orleans
Hornets on Saturday night.
”Every night, there’s a good point guard in front of him and
he’s been geared up to play every one of them,” said Bulls forward
Carols Boozer, who had 17 points. ”He carries us offensively, and
on the defensive end he locks up as well. He’s a monster, man. And
I keep telling people, when it’s all said and done – he’s 22 – he’s
going to be the best one.”
Rose’s dominant performance in New Orleans came one game after
he scored 29 points – while matched up against Derron Williams – in
the Bulls’ victory in Utah on Wednesday night.
Paul came in averaging 16.5 points and 9.7 assists and had 15
points on 3 of 10 shooting and six assists against the Bulls.
”My rhythm is off. I’m missing everything I shoot at the rim.
I’ve just got to keep shooting,” Paul said. ”I’ve got to somehow,
some way, find a rhythm and find a way to get some easy
Rose downplayed his role in the victory and said his success
against Paul stemmed from the team’s defensive scheme.
”I think I contested all his shots and just tried to make him
work for it,” said Rose, who seemed more inclined to discuss the
performance of the Bulls’ reserve unit, which contributed 30 points
and 20 rebounds.
”They’re the reason why we won this game,” Rose said.
Luol Deng had 14 points for the Bulls, who outscored the Hornets
25-14 in the fourth quarter to close out a five-game road trip at
Marcus Thornton had a season-high 24 points and David West added
17 for New Orleans, which missed 13 of 39 free throws in losing for
the seventh time in nine games.
The Bulls took the lead for good when C.J. Watson’s transition
3, set up by Ronnie Brewer’s block of Thornton’s fast-break layup
attempt on the other end, ignited a 9-0 run.
Watson also turned a steal into a fast-break layup during the
surge, which put Chicago ahead 89-80 with 5 minutes to go. New
Orleans responded with two quick baskets, but Rose set up Boozer’s
inside basket with a bounce pass into the paint, then made a
difficult, off-balance baseline jumper to make it 93-84 with 2:27
That shot drained the life out of the crowd, which began to file
out soon after, and the Hornets could not recover.
”They put pressure on us and we backed down and there’s no
other way to look at it,” Hornets coach Monty Williams said. ”We
have to give them credit. They didn’t change anything. They just
jacked up their defense. To me, that was like a playoff game and we
Keith Bogans had 11 points for Chicago, which shot 51.5 percent
(35 of 68) and outscored New Orleans 36-20 inside. Kurt Thomas and
reserve Omer Asik each grabbed 11 rebounds for the Bulls, who
outrebounded New Orleans 47-26. Chicago also made 21 of 22 free
New Orleans, which shot only 40.6 (28 of 69) for the game, led
by 12 when Paul baited Rose into a shooting foul behind the 3-point
arc and made all three free throws to put the Hornets up 61-49
early in third quarter. Shortly after, however, Thomas’ short
baseline jumper started a 12-1 run highlighted by Bogans’ third 3
of the game and another by Rose that made it 64-63.
Thornton checked back in and hit a 3, and the Hornets began to
control the tempo again. They were unable to pull away, however,
because they missed eight free throws in the third quarter alone
and led only 74-72 heading into the final period.
”Missing 13 free throws on your home floor is inexcusable,”
Chicago finally pulled back into a 76-all tie when Rose
intercepted David Andersen’s pass and finished a fast break with a
full-speed, spinning dribble past Thornton for a layup.
Most of the first half was close until Thornton entered in the
second quarter, when he scored 14 of his points. He drained
back-to-back 3s on the heels of a long-range shot by Paul during an
11-0 run that West capped with a tough turnaround, putting New
Orleans ahead 53-42 at halftime.
Notes: Chicago’s only missed free throw came on an airball by
Brewer late in the third quarter. … Chicago C Joakim Noah missed
his 28th game as he recovers from surgery to repair a tendon in his
right hand. … The loss was only New Orleans’ second in 13 home
games against the Eastern Conference. … The Hornets had only two
offensive rebounds, tying a franchise all-time low.