Chicago Bulls vs. Charlotte Hornets Instant Analysis: Bulls Disappoint, Fall Below .500

BY Fansided and Hunter Kuffel/FanSided via Pippen Ain't Easy • December 23, 2016

The Bulls fell to the Charlotte Hornets, 103-91, in a game that was a lot of things, if not always easy to watch. Check out some instant analysis from the Pippen Ain’t Easy team.

After 29 games, the Chicago Bulls are below .500 for the first time this season.

Last season, it took 73 games to fall below that mark. It was an ugly game to watch at times, and we understand if you flipped the channel to greener pastures.

Read on to find out everything you need to know from the loss in Charlotte.

First Quarter

It was a slow start in Charlotte, with the Bulls leading just 19-16 after the first ten minutes of play.

A lot of long possessions populated the opening frame, often ending with a contested shot from within the arc.

Rajon Rondo knocked down the first 3-pointer for the Bulls if you can believe it, along with making this slick pass to Taj Gibson for the score:

Although the Bulls offense can certainly seem like the Jimmy Butler show at times, that wasn’t the case during the first quarter. All of the starters made it on the board by the quarter’s end, along with two points from Doug McDermott and five from Nikola Mirotic.

Although the Hornets are currently ninth in the league in 3-pointers taken per game at 27.7, they took only five in the quarter, one shy of the Bulls’ number.

Second Quarter

This one was ugly, guys.

The Bulls went almost seven minutes without making a field goal, missing 11 straight shots in a row before Robin Lopez sunk a mid-range jumper. The Hornets meanwhile went on a 15-0 run, but don’t take that to mean that they played particularly well. Just about every other fast break ended in a missed layup or a turnover for either team.

Former Bull Marco Belinelli left for the locker room after injuring his left foot/ankle (he wouldn’t return). Roy Hibbert also managed to rack up four blocks for the game by the midway point of the quarter. That doesn’t reflect well on the Bulls seeing as Hibbert is far from the defensive presence he was in Indiana.

In the half-court, the Bulls played decent defense, but they got absolutely destroyed in transition. They made the Hornets look like a fast-paced, run-and-gun kind of offense; a label that they don’t necessarily deserve.

The Bulls finished the half down 40-48, having shot a paltry 34.8 percent from the field over the half. They scored only 14 points in the second quarter, the lowest total of any quarter all season.

All that said, this is all you really need to see:

Third Quarter

Coming out of the break, it was the Hornets’ turn to miss a bunch of shots in a row. The Bulls started the quarter with a 9-0 run, retaking the lead (for roughly one possession) and injecting a bit of energy back into a game that had reached dangerous levels of ugliness.

Rajon Rondo seemed to be making more of an effort to push the ball up the court after halftime as well, an effort that certainly helped open the floor up for more shots early in the clock.

Jimmy Butler tried to take control, scoring nine of his 26 points in the first six minutes of the quarter. He made his presence known on the other end as well, converting a steal from Nic Batum into an impressive alley-oop from Rondo:

However, despite the encouraging signs at the top of the third, the Bulls would find themselves still down for basically the entire quarter. Two consecutive 3s from Doug McDermott had the Bulls flirting with the lead, but it wasn’t quite enough, and the quarter ended with the Hornets up, 75-67.

Fourth Quarter

Watching Doug McDermott get hot at the end of the third quarter through the beginning of the fourth was easily the most exciting part of the Bulls offense all game. Nikola Mirotic went 1-for-7 from the 3-point line. Guess which player had more 3-point attempts tonight?

The fourth quarter was more of the same for the Bulls. Some signs of light offensively, but not enough to take control of the game. Taj Gibson is stubbornly reliable, and can get buckets a lot better than he gets credit for. McDermott cooled off a bit, and most importantly, Rondo was on the court to close, so the Bulls’ chances were bleak.

Some Jimmy hero ball, a dagger-like 3 from Kemba Walker, and a weird Robin Lopez ejection would round out a weird game for the Bulls.

Like many other games this month, we saw just how far apart the peaks and valleys for this Bulls team are.

Hidden somewhere is the potential for an unconventionally potent offense, but it’s obscured all too often by inconsistent shooting–especially from deep–and long, exhausting stretches of ball-stopping and standing around.

If the Bulls want any chance of success this season, they need to find a way to play consistently.

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