Jimmy Butler scores 23 points as Bulls beat Pelicans 121-116
NEW ORLEANS (AP) Jimmy Butler scored 12 of his 23 points in the last six minutes and the short-handed Chicago Bulls beat the injury-riddled New Orleans Pelicans 121-116 on Monday night.
Nikola Mirotic added 20 points and Cristiano Felicio matched his career high with 16 for the Bulls. Butler was the only regular in the starting lineup. Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol sat after Chicago was eliminated from the playoffs when Indiana won Sunday.
James Ennis had a career-high 29 points for the Pelicans, who have been without all five of their leading scorers for two weeks. Toney Douglas contributed 21 points, and Tim Frazier had 20 points and 11 assists.
With the score tied at 106, Butler took over down the stretch.
He converted a layup, hit a contested 3 as the shot clock was winding down, made two free throws and sank a step-back jumper from the corner as the Bulls pulled away.
Butler also had 11 assists.
Trailing 96-93 early in the fourth quarter, the Bulls scored 11 straight points to go up by 8. Aaron Brooks hit a 3, Bobby Portis sank a tough bank shot, Mirotic had a basket, Portis made two free throws and Mirotic fed Doug McDermott for a layup.
The Pelicans were scoreless for nearly four minutes in that stretch but came back to tie it at 106 on 3-pointers by Douglas and Jordan Hamilton.
The Pelicans led 62-53 at the half, outscoring the Bulls 11-4 in the last 3:30.
The Bulls, who were tied for the seventh-worst shooting percentage in the NBA entering the game, hit their first seven shots. Dunleavy and Justin Holiday each had three baskets before Dunleavy missed a 3-point attempt with 7:03 left to end the streak. Chicago reverted to form for a while, missing 10 of 15 attempts for the rest of the first quarter, but shot 57.1 percent for the night.
SURGERY FOR HOLIDAY
Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday had surgery on Monday to repair an orbital wall fracture on his right eye, the team announced. He is expected to recover in six to eight weeks, well before the start of next season. Holiday, who hurt the eye on March 28 against the Knicks, averaged 16.8 points, six steals and three rebounds in 65 games.
Bulls: With nothing to play for, coach Fred Hoiberg said Rose and Gasol also will sit out the finale at home. . The last time Chicago missed the playoffs, in 2007-08, former coach Scott Skiles was fired in December and then-interim coach Jim Boylen was fired at the end of the season. The only player left from that team is Joakim Noah, who has been out since January with a left shoulder injury. . The Bulls finished 16-25 on the road.
Pelicans: New Orleans will miss the playoffs for the fifth time in the last six years and has not advanced past the first round since 2007-08. . The Pelicans finished 21-20 at home. . New Orleans had seven offensive rebounds to Chicago's zero in the first half.
Bulls: Home against Philadelphia on Wednesday to end the season.
Pelicans: At Minnesota on Wednesday to end the season