The New Orleans Pelicans 2-game road winning streak was snapped Saturday in Chicago as the Bulls were relentless on the glass all night to earn the 107-99 victory. Chicago finished with a 63-42 rebounding advantage, largely thanks to a 21-6 superiority on the offensive glass. The Bulls previous game-high for OREB on the season was 19.
Alvin Gentry noted the ugly disparity in his comments following the game.
“I think it’s pretty obvious that the rebounding was the difference in the game.”
Chicago has the worst eFG% in the league, but giving them 17 more shot attempts is a recipe for defeat every time. The Bulls converted 21 of those offensive rebounds into 21 second chance points versus just 6 and 6 for the Pelicans. Robin Lopez was the biggest nemesis as he accounted for a season-high 9 offensive rebounds.
Did the early starting time cost the Pelicans the win? Perhaps.
New Orleans did get off to a slow start, scoring just 6 points in nearly the first six minutes of the game. Outside of a momentary spark from E’Twaun Moore and Tyreke Evans, the Pelicans struggled to match the Bulls energy throughout the first half as well as keep tabs on Jimmy Butler. The Bulls best player, coming off an illness that saw him lose 10 pounds, torched the Pelicans for 19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and 3 threes in the game’s first 24 minutes.
Following halftime, the situation failed to improve as the Bulls jumped out to a 15-point lead just four minutes into the 3rd quarter. By the time the Pelicans offense found their rhythm, it was too late, because in addition to the continuation of the rebounding woes, Dwyane Wade caught fire. After a 2-13 shooting performance through the first three quarters of the game, Wade knocked down 7-11 shots in the final frame, pouring in 17 points.
So, despite being down just 81-80 with 9:43 to play, the Pelicans never appeared to have enough momentum to completely overcome the deficit on the scoreboard. Throughout numerous portions of the game, they missed a lot of good opportunities around the rim and failed to make the Bulls pay for all their free throw line misses with an inefficient 14-21 performance of their own.
Anthony Davis led the way for the New Orleans Pelicans. After scoring a sluggish 13 points in the first half, he went on to finish with 36 points and added 14 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 assists. Tonight marked his third NBA game in Chicago, and once more, he was on the losing end (now 0-3).
Only three other Pelicans managed to hit double figures in scoring: Evans (14), Moore (16) and Solomon Hill (10). New Orleans starting backcourt of Buddy Hield and Jrue Holiday totaled a meager 3 points on 1-12 shooting. Holiday, however, did add 12 assists, often finding teammates for quite a few uncontested attempts. Hield, meanwhile, was limited to 12 minutes because he was ineffective on both ends of the floor. Staying with Wade or Butler can be a challenge, but there were times when Michael Carter-Williams was able to get around him too easily for scores.
Next up are the Indiana Pacers (20-19) but another early starting time looms on the horizon. On Martin Luther King Day — you hear that Biloxi, Mississippi — the Pelicans will tip-off against Paul George’s squad at 3pm CST. In addition to the potential schedule hardship, New Orleans can probably expect to face a pissed off Pacers team. In their last game, Indiana put up a dud in London against the Denver Nuggets, resulting in a 140-112 loss.