Game 52 Recap: Bulls 97, Hornets 88

A total team effort.

That’s what last night’s win in New Orleans was.

The Bulls struggled in the first half and trailed by as many as 12 points. But, by the end of the game, they could boast some pretty sweet accomplishments.

The Hornets are one of the best defensive teams in the league, but the Bulls shot 51.5 percent from the field, 46.2 percent from downtown (6-for-13) and 95.5 percent from the free throw line (21-for-22). Chicago finished with an Offensive Rating of 112.6. Pretty impressive considering New Orleans ranks 6th in Defensive Rating (102.9).

Derrick Rose (23 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds) got the better of Chris Paul (15 points, 3-for-10, 6 assists), and I’m seriously considering sending Nicolas Batum a thank you card. Carlos Boozer (17 points, 7-for-12, 8 rebounds) stood up to David West (17 points, 6-for-11), holding his PF counterpart to only 2 rebounds. Luol Deng chipped in 14 points, Keith Bogans exploded (for him) for 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting, and Kurt Thomas pulled down 11 boards.

The bench also came through, contributing 30 points and 20 rebounds while providing plenty of energy and a variety of key plays.

As a team, the Bulls outscored the Hornets 36-20 in the paint and outrebounded them 47-26. Chicago also limited New Orleans to only 2 offensive rebounds, which tied the franchise’s all-time low.

Then, of course, there was the defense.

It’s been working for the Bulls all season. Well, almost all season. The defense looked pretty broken when the Bulls lost in Golden State and Portland — games two and three of this five-game road trip — but was resurrected in Utah and against last night in New Orleans.

Sure, the Bulls couldn’t figure out what to do with Marcus Thornton (24 points on 9-for-15 shooting), and the Hornets scored 53 points in the first half. However, Chicago held the home team to 35 second half points while scoring 55 points themselves.

Finally, the Bulls dominated the fourth quarter, outscoring the Hornets 25-14. And lest you think that was an aberration, check out this tidbit from ESPN Stats and Information:

The Bulls win tonight was typical in that they used a dominant fourth quarter to finish off the Hornets, outscoring them 25-14 in the final period. On the season, the Bulls have outscored their opponents by 129 points in the fourth quarter, tied with the Jazz for the best mark in the NBA. In fact, the Bulls and Jazz are the only two teams to have outscored opponents by 100 points in the fourth quarter.

Not bad, eh?

(It did help, of course, that the Hornets bricked 13 foul shots.)

The Bulls finished their five-game trip with a 3-2 record. Those losses to the Warriors and Trail Blazers felt bad, but they seemed to serve as a wake-up call, and the team certainly played better against the Jazz and Hornets.

And, as I suggested above, Rose seemed to play much more inspired defense after Batum called him out. As ESPNChicago’s Nick Friedell pointed out, Rose (with a little help from his friends) held fellow All-Stars Deron Williams and Paul to 8-for-23 shooting over the last two games.

Not that Derrick is getting a big head about it.

Said Rose: “I’m not even paying attention to what [Batum] said. I know that withour defense and the way we’ve been playing, I’m not worried about that. With our defense, we over-help with everything so if one guy is out of place our whole defense is out of place. And we’ve just been getting on right page right now, getting on the right rhythm, where a guy is driving we’re stepping in front taking charges trying to go for the block. And in the Portland game and the other game that we lost [against Golden State] we weren’t doing that.”

Recap, Box Score, Play-By-Play, Shot Chart, Photos.

8 Responses to Game 52 Recap: Bulls 97, Hornets 88

  1. Inception February 13, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    I get the most satisfaction from wins on the road vs. playoff teams….it’s a true measure of where the team stands…i’d still like to see a better winning % on the road, but hopefully they’ll get there when Noah returns.

    Matt February 13, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

    Good game for the Bulls, I agree. But…
    “Carlos Boozer (17 points, 7-for-12, 8 rebounds) stood up to David West (17 points, 6-for-11), holding his PF counterpart to only 2 rebounds.”
    Big Sexy was on West most of the game, as I recall. Let’s give credit where is due (and not where it’s not), eh?

    Scottie Pimpin' February 14, 2011 at 12:44 am #

    did nicolas batum not get the memo ? this kid is from chicago !

  4. TBF February 14, 2011 at 4:08 am #

    Why can’t Keith Bogans do this more than once a month? If he could just chip in between 7 and 12 a game, I wouldn’t have a problem with him at all.

    I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence, but he’s had two games in a row now where he hasn’t been totally invisible and we’ve won both of them. Maybe, maybe he’s *finally* gonna start doing…something.

    Paul February 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    No love for Omer? 11 boards in 14 minutes. He’s no Noah, but he played with energy and did the job. “Big and with energy” has a place on any roster, if you ask me. And considering he could be KT’s son…

    Gorditadogg February 14, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    Rose seems to have picked up his game since Batum called him out. Or maybe he was just more focused playing against DWill and CP3. Whatever the reason, it was great to see him take over against NO and the NBA’s best PG defender.

    Once Noah is back, I think the back-up C minutes will depend on match-ups. Thomas will get the big guys like Howard and Shaq. Omer will get Joel Anthony.

  7. PTFC February 14, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    “I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence, but he’s had two games in a row now where he hasn’t been totally invisible and we’ve won both of them. Maybe, maybe he’s *finally* gonna start doing…something.”

    It’s not a coincidence. The Bulls are undefeated when Bogans scores in double digits (I think its like 8-0 or 10-0).

  8. Luvabull February 17, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    Another good win. Wow, imagine as this kid (Rose) starts learning some of the finer nuances of the game like hitting the open man instead of forcing the shot in a crowd. About the only weaknesses to over come now are a propencity to be a bit careless with the ball leading to turnovers and dribbling into a crowd and forcing up a shot. Perhaps that will improve with Noah’s return.

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