The Charlotte Hornets dropped their second straight game as Jimmy Butler’s 52 point performance led the Chicago Bulls to victory at home.
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The Charlotte Hornets (19-16) were defeated by the Chicago Bulls (17-18) as they had no answer for Jimmy Butler in this one. Chicago’s star shooting guard led the way with a season-high 52 points. Kemba Walker tried to keep his team in this one but his big night was overshadowed by Jimmy G Buckets.
Charlotte was shorthanded in this one as they were dealing with multiple injuries and were without Marco Belinelli and Cody Zeller. Belinelli missed his fifth straight game with a left ankle sprain while Zeller missed his first game due to a concussion as he has entered the NBA’s concussion protocol. Roy Hibbert stepped in at the starting center spot but was largely unproductive as he recorded only six points with zero rebounds and zero blocks in 22 minutes.
The Hornets led 102-100 with 3:43 left in the game when the Bulls closed out the game on an 18-9 run to steal the win late in the fourth. After Patrick Ewing picked up a technical at the 3:30 mark, Chicago seemingly took control of the game. Jimmy Butler scored 14 of his team’s final 18 points as he single handily pulled out this victory over a Charlotte team that underwhelmed once again.
There is no excuse for Steve Clifford’s side to lose to a Bulls’ team without Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade. Also, as a good defensive team with “elite” perimeter defenders in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Nicolas Batum, no one should score 52 points on them. This is yet another disappointing loss for a team that is searching for their defensive identity.
Who Stepped Up
Kemba Walker led Charlotte as he finished with 34 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists. Nicolas Batum had his typical all-around game as he scored 19 points to go along with six rebounds and five assists. Jeremy Lamb stepped up in place of Marco Belinelli as he added 15 and six rebounds off the bench.
Spencer Hawes scored chipped in with 10 points but the rest of the team was largely ineffective.
Jimmy Butler’s stat line was ridiculous as he ended the night with 52 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists. He was a one-man wrecking crew as the next highest scorer on the Bulls was Nikola Mirotic with 12.
Kemba recorded his fifth double-double of the season.
Lamb scored over 10+ points for the 12th time this year and for the fourth time in his last five.
Walker scored 20+ points for the 24th time this season.
Butler is the first Bulls player to score 50 points at the United Center since Michael Jordan in 1997.
Jimmy went 21-22 from the free throw line. The Hornets were 20-22 as a team.
With the loss, the Hornets drop to 1-1 on the season against Chicago. The two sides will meet once more this year in a winner takes all in Charlotte. This season series could be huge down the stretch as whoever wins the tiebreaker could be a huge factor with both teams having similar records.
In their next game, the Charlotte Hornets will return home to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder. It will be a star-studded affair between two of the quickest and best scoring point guards in the league with Russell Westbrook and Kemba Walker going at it. The team will be looking to bounce back after this disappointing loss.