BULLet Points: Hornets embarrass shorthanded Bulls to end road trip

This game felt over before it started. When Derrick Rose was scratched an hour before the tip the Bulls’ fate was sealed. Without Rose, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic (and of course Joakim Noah) the Bulls don’t have a chance against a half decent NBA team, which is precisely what the Charlotte Hornets are.

  • Things got out of hand twelve miserable minutes into the game. Charlotte hung 38 points in the first quarter to Chicago’s 20, and the Bulls never shrunk the deficit below 12. The Hornets were 5/9 from three in the quarter and shot 58% overall. The Hornets, without Al Jefferson, did a great job of creating space on offense. Smart passing and cutting led to many open shots from three and the rim.
  • Kemba Walker was the biggest contributor to the win Monday night. The former Husky scored 30 points, dished eight assists and grabbed seven rebounds. Walker was effective inside and out, knocking down 4/9 of his three point attempts and chipping in 10 points from the free throw line on 13 attempts.
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, back from shoulder injury, scored 20 points almost all through cuts and offensive boards. MKG gets no respect standing on the perimeter, clogging up lanes for his teammates. But with intelligent cutting and efficient finishing, Kidd-Gilchrist is enough of a weapon to not totally sink the offense.
  • Fred Hoiberg continues to make Thibs-like decisions without drawing Thibs-like criticism. Pau Gasol logged 33 meaningless minutes, staying in the game until just two minutes remained. Gasol was the only source of offense for the Bulls, but Hoiberg’s insistence on playing to keep the game close is not a good long-term decision. Pau filled the box score with 22 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and three blocks. A great night to be a Pau fantasy owner, a bad night to be a Bulls fan.
  • If Hoiberg left Gasol in the fourth quarter to crawl back into the game, why not play him alongside Taj Gibson? Taj is the only big man capable of playing good defense, a vital part of mounting a comeback. Alas, Cameron Bairstow saw all 12 minutes of the fourth while Gibson played none.
  • I have no problem with Bairstow playing the entire fourth quarter. I have no problem with the Bulls believing they could make a push against a mediocre Hornets team. My problem is the half-in, half-out approach Hoiberg took in this game. Either bring your A-game or go full scrub.
  • E’Twaun Moore continues to make the best of his current opportunity. Moore was aggressive and effective on offense, scoring 12 points on 50% shooting. When Moore was first inserted into the starting lineup he sometimes seemed reluctant to shoot threes when he was open. Moore connected on 2/4 of his attempts tonight and will continue to increase his gravity.
  • Moore’s effort on defense cannot be questioned, but his effectiveness is held back by his size. Matched up against the 6’8″ Nicolas Batum, the 6’4″ Moore was unable to bother the Frenchman’s shot.
  • Doug McDermott was the Bulls second leading scorer with 14 points. Unfortunately, almost all of his production came with the game way out of reach. Doug was the victim of several MKG cuts and continues to be a net negative for this team.
  • Tony Snell was 1/4 from the field in an unremarkable 19 minutes. Tony Snell led the team in +/-. Tony Snell sold his soul to a wizard or something.
  • Coming up: the Bulls host Atlanta on Wednesday night before the All-Star break.
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