Pau Gasol finished with 20 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, and three blocks as the Chicago Bulls defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 107-72. Derrick Rose finished with 20 points and four assists. Anthony Davis scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds, but he left in the middle of the second quarter with a shoulder injury. Tyreke Evans led the team with 15 points, and added four rebounds, three assists, three steals and two turnovers.
Well, that sucked. The first half was pretty good, really good, even. Offensively, the Pelicans were getting some good looks. Tyreke Evans came out and got some good layups, in both the finishing over opposing players and leaking out for easy finishes variety. Anthony Davis was getting some easy baskets, getting around Pau Gasol for some nifty finishes. And finally, Eric Gordon did a couple of nice things - specifically, moving really well without the ball, and serving as a passer, getting Omer Asik a nice dunk early in the game.
In the second quarter, it was a rugged start on both ends. Both teams began in an offensive rut, New Orleans struggled to get anything going with the second unit, with Ryan Anderson being the main cog in the system. As for Chicago, it was a bit of Taj Gibson, a bit of Aaron Brooks, and Tony Snell made an impression on me, hitting two impressive three pointers early in the quarter. All was going well, and then..it happened.
A terrible pass led to an Anthony Davis dunk and fall. He went down pretty hard, and for a split moment in time, I thought he had hurt his wrist and shoulder. Davis was down for a brief moment, but it was clear that he was in discomfort. Shortly thereafter, Davis went back into the locker room, done for the night. From Davis’ dunk to the end of the second quarter, the Bulls went on a 15-4 run to end the quarter. Suddenly, it went from a defensive struggle in the quarter, to a 50-39 deficit for the Pelicans at halftIme.
The second half was even worse. The Pelicans scored 33 points for the entire half while the Bulls matched that total with just their third quarter output. It was clear the injury to Davis deflated the team on both sides of the ball. The offensive end saw New Orleans without someone who could make plays and finish (no offense, Tyreke), and the defense just lacked the yard dog in the front of the house.
The second part was key, the Bulls got some easy shots in the second half, thanks to the lack of a stopper in the middle of the defense. Derrick Rose, Tony Snell, and Jimmy Butler got active in the second half, both finishing at the rim and hitting jumpers from the outside. Then, with no Davis, Pau Gasol went off a bit. The nine points don’t do justice to how good he was moving the ball in the third quarter and got easy shots for his teammates.
An ugly loss for New Orleans, but it’s not their fault. Davis got hurt before the half, the building lost all of it’s mojo and energy, and Chicago capitalized. Before Davis’ injury, the Pelicans were right there with the Bulls, and after surviving the offensive rut, the Pelicans could’ve been that team making the run at the end of the second. Chalk it up as an unfortunate loss, hope Davis is ok for the next handful of games, and move on.
- I liked some of the little work Gordon and Asik did early in the game. There were two plays that intrigued me. Both were dump-off passes, but they were so effective and resulted in two easy dunks for Omer Asik. I like that cohesion, mainly because I think Asik needs that to be effective on the other end. Get Omer a couple good touches and it energizes him on that end. I would like to see more of that in the upcoming weeks.
- Joel Meyers mentioned that Jrue Holiday was going to return after the All-Star break. I’ll stop with all the updates, but again, this is huge for what New Orleans needs in order to make the playoffs. I like Tyreke Evans, but there were a couple plays where he should’ve passed and he didn’t. He’s a fine passer, and the Pellies don’t win that game last night against Oklahoma City without him, but there are games where he’s a bit frustrating.
- Woof. Ryan Anderson 1-11 from the floor. I thought he would have a tough night, but I didn’t imagine this. Again, no Davis made Anderson easier to defend, but 1-11 was rough. That said, watching Anderson on offense, I liked how he mixed up his offense a bit. Swooping into the lane, some turnaround jumpers, and getting some shots at the basket with some nice cuts to the rim.
- Alexis Ajinca. He had 10 points! That’s not bad. He converted on five of his nine shot attempts. That, is also not terrible. However, he only had four rebounds, the Bulls players looked to score over him easy, and he got tired pretty quickly early in the second.
- Pau Gasol is freaking awesome. I love watching him play basketball. Love. After the point guard with shooting guard size, the big man who can pass are my favorite type of players in the NBA.
Do your job. Welcome in Utah on Monday and hope Anthony Davis is clear to play. Geaux Pelicans.