Bulls run away from Anthony Davis-less Pelicans, win 107-72

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Rare is the Bulls game that is decided by the start of the fourth quarter.

Blowouts in either direction this season have seen either Chicago hang around until  deep in the fourth quarter or fail to properly close out poor teams. Saturday night in New  Orleans was not one of those occassions.

With Anthony Davis fresh off his absurd three-point game-winner last night in  Oklahoma City, the Bulls promptly came out and engaged in the kind of sloppy, slow,  low-scoring affair that became their calling-card over the past few years.

The Pelicans’ first 20 points and first 18 field goals came in the paint, the Bulls apparently taking defensive innovation a step too far – or, conversely, the end result of trying to check Anthony Davis with Pau Gasol.

Davis should garner several more MVP votes after his impact on the game was displayed in rather stark terms. After a heavy fall on a dunk, Davis left the game and would not return with the score tied at 35-35 and five minutes left in the first half.

The Bulls would tear off on a 72-37 run the rest of the game, including a 20-3 run coming out of halftime that settled the game as a competitive affair. The final 35-point margin of victory was the Bulls largest of the season and most lopsided win since a January 2013 rout of the Atlanta Hawks. Only the opening-night laugher against the New York Knicks can come close this season.

Derrick Rose was his by-now customary mixture of shot-making despite weird shot selection, finishing with 20 points on 8-15 shooting. Pau Gasol was also his typical double-double machine, also scoring 20 points to go with 15 rebounds before he was pulled alongside Rose in the third quarter with the scoreboard heavily favoring the Bulls.

The brightest of all spots for the Bulls on a night to be fairly happy with was Tony Snell. Despite wildly fluctuating minutes – from playing 30 minutes some games to zero minutes in an entire week – he stepped into this game over Nikola Mirotic and came close to a career-high with 19 points, hitting five of his six three-point attempts as he was locked in from the moment he checked in.

While most players experiencing some kind of hot night would expect to see significant burn in their next contest, there’s probably an equal chance Snell ends up buried on the bench tomorrow night in Orlando, a fate that has befallen Doug McDermott most of this year and Nikola Mirotic tonight.

The Serbian, despite being among the candidates for Rookie of the Year and named to the Rising Stars contest, didn’t log a single minute in the first half and only entered the game when the result was beyond all doubt.

He immediately settled into his rhythm, displaying flashes of passing, shooting and ball-handling in his limited time. He made sure his absence would go noticed earlier in the game, throwing a pair of flashy passes to McDermott and one astonishing alley-oop for E’Twaun Moore that he pulled off with a nonchalant flick of his wrists.

McDermott finally saw court time after recovering from a lingering injury, some would suggest he also insulted a member of Thibodeau’s family or missed every flight and team bus over the past four weeks he’s been available such has been Thibs’ reluctance to use the player the Bulls felt necessary to make a major (by Bulls standards) trade on draft night to acquire.

McDermott scored a quick nine points on a backdoor cut, a nice three-pointer off a series of down-screens and a strong post-move against Pelicans bench players.


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