The Chicago Bulls have had a tendency to play down to some of their opponents in the recent past. Monday night was a classic case of the same. The Bulls let a young, scrappy Bobcats team hang around with them for the entire game before defeating them 86-81.
Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng were both off to great starts in the first quarter as the pair combined for 21 of the teams 26. The only problem was that the pair didn’t record a point in the second quarter. Because of this, the Bulls found themselves down 4 to the young Bobcats at halftime.
Quite frankly, the Bulls deserved to be down at the half. They turned the ball over 10 times in the half and got outscored 26-10 in the paint.
The Bobcats used a lot of balance to earn the lead in the first half. They didn’t have a guy in double figures, but had 5 guys with 6 points each. The Bulls scored just 14 points in the second quarter.
The third quarter was a different story for both teams. The Bulls were able to hold the Bobcats to just 15 points in the quarter and also out-rebounded them by 8. Shooting guard Jimmmy Butler would leave the game in the middle of the third quarter due to a toe injury, but would return mid way through the fourth.
All five of the Bulls’ starters would score double figures. Luol Deng led the way with 21 points and 8 rebounds. Carlos Boozer recorded a double-double with 12 points and 17 rebounds. However, Boozer did struggle from the field though, he was 5-17 for the night.
A big statistic for the game was the difference in free throws shot. The Bulls shot 31 free throws compared to the Bobcats’ 16. The Bulls also made 18 more free throws than the Bobcats.
Derrick Rose struggled a little bit coming off of that stellar night he had against Indiana. Rose had just 12 points on 4-13 shooting.
The win improves the Bulls’ record to 6-3 and 5-0 at home. Improving upon that road record will be key for the Bulls as they will now go on a six game road trip that starts on Thursday in Denver. The start is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. CT against the Nuggets.