The Bulls suffered a disappointing loss to the New Orleans Hornets who were without No. 1 draft pick – and Chicago native – Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon on Saturday night at the United Center. The Bulls have a pretty favorable schedule for November and the game against the Hornets wasn’t one they were supposed to lose.
Instead of going 3-0 to start the season as was expected, the Bulls are now 2-1. Even though we’re just out of the starting gate in this brand new NBA season, there's no reason to push the panic button. But this the kind of loss that could come back and bite the team as we get closer to the finish line later in the season.
The bench played exceptionally well against New Orleans, outscoring them 42-26 in the game. Marco Belinelli had his best game in a Bulls uniform scoring 13 points. The newly extended Taj Gibson had a solid performance as well with 12 points and five rebounds, and Nate Robinson continues to impress with 15 points and five assists, playing exactly half the game (24 minutes). Luol Deng (19 points, eight rebounds) and Joakim Noah (11 points, 11 rebounds) were also solid in the game.
The Bulls got off to a really slow start missing a number of easy shots, particularly layups. A lot of that can be attributed to the front line of the Hornets whose length and ability to challenge shots in the paint changed things considerably. The Bulls were also outrebounded 44-41, a rarity because they almost always lead teams in that category.
The Bulls as a team shot a combined 33 percent from the field and got absolutely nothing out of starters Kirk Hinrich (two points), Rip Hamilton (four points) and Carlos Boozer (four points). It's completey unacceptable for nearly $25 million in combined salary to collectively score just 10 points on 4-26 shooting from the field (15 percent), especially against a young team who will probably find themselves back in the lottery again. Chicago also continues to struggle from the three-point line, shooting 3-17 from outside (17.6 percent) on Saturday night.