New Orleans Pelicans 131, Chicago Bulls 128: What did we learn from the game that wouldn’t die?

Does anyone else think it’s unfair that the Chicago Bulls have had to play a total of four overtime periods since losing Derrick Rose? I mean, bad enough that we have to suffer through four quarters of Rose-less basketball, but adding overtime on top seems like cruel and unusual punishment.

Anyway, the Bulls lost to the New Orleans Pelicans in triple-overtime last night, and really it wasn’t even as bad as I made it sound in that first paragraph. Even with Rose and Anthony Davis out, there were enough exceptional individual performances on both sides to make things interesting. The outcome could’ve been better, sure, but each loss inches us closer to the top of the draft. We’re playing with house money, at this point.

Whatever. On to the things that were learned.

1. Taj Gibson is OK at basketball, I guess.

Less than a week after establishing a new career high of 23 points in Detroit, Taj came back home and slapped up 26 points and 14 rebounds (7 offensive) to go with 5 blocks. He’s become the centerpiece of the offense when the second unit is out there and not only is that not inherently objectionable, it’s working! He was incredible tonight, as he has been for a large chunk of the season, and the result was Carlos Boozer finding himself stapled to the bench for the entire fourth quarter and all three overtimes. Thank you #BasedTaj.

2. Kirk Hinrich giveth and Kirk Hinrich taketh away.

Kirk Hinrich finished with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 11 assists. Yay! Kirk Hinrich shot 4/15 from the field and 0/8 from beyond the arc. Boo! Kirk Hinrich saved the Bulls momentarily at the end of the second overtime when he drew an offensive foul on Ryan Anderson with New Orleans up two. Yay! He flopped pretty blatantly in doing so. Boo! And that’s without even mentioning his horrific defense on Jrue Holiday’s game-winning layup. (Boo!)

Such is life when Kirk Hinrich is your starting point guard. But what’s fun is how much better he is than either Mike James or Marquis Teague. And by fun, I mean awful.

And, now that I’ve said that, the Bulls will announce sometime today that Kirk ruptured his spleen or some such and will miss two months. Alas.

3. #FreeMarquisTeague!

Look, Teague has been bad. I acknowledge this. However, Mike James is very nearly as bad and he’s not going to get better any time soon. Teague at least has shown flashes of maybe being OK. Can he at least see the floor occasionally? More than the 5.7 seconds he got last night, anyway. That’s all I ask.

4. #GETTHATMONEYLUOL

Luol Deng seems to have transformed himself into a homeless man’s James Harden on the offensive end, minus the ability to dribble. 7 turnovers aside, slapping up a 37/8/7 and playing nearly 56 minutes is pretty impressive. The isos were pretty rough, but you take the good with the bad, I guess. The way Deng is playing right now, he might well get ┬áthe 4-year, $56 million contract ┬áthat Josh Smith got over the summer. Frankly, I kind of feel like the Bulls should hurry up and trade him while he’s playing well, but we’ll see.

That’s all I got. Bulls have two days off before they take their talents to South Beach to play the Miami Heat on Thursday.

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