The Chicago Bulls picked up their 5th win in a row Sunday afternoon with a 117-110 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. The Bulls have also won six of their last seven games and what might be even more impressive they won back to back games on the road. That’s one of the tougher things to do in the NBA.
Chicago scored six of the games first eight points, but New Orleans quickly came right back to tie the game at six all. The Bulls then went on an 11 to 2 to take a 17-8 lead with 5:50 left in the quarter. The Bulls where never able to push their lead into double digits and when Solomon Hill hit a lay up the Pelicans where within two at 23-21. The Bulls scored the final five points of the quarter to take a 28-21 lead after one quarter of play.
The Bulls started the 2nd quarter by scoring the first seven points and pushing their lead to 14 points 35-21. The closest the Pelicans could was five points at 45-40 with 5:05 left to play. The Bulls then scored 11 straight points to take a 16 point lead at 56-40. New Orleans was unable to cut down the Bulls lead and they needed a 3-pointer by Dante Cunningham just to bring the lead back down to 16 points (63-47) headed into halftime.
The 3rd quarter was the Pelicans best quarter of the game, but the Bulls did get out to a 19 point lead at 74-55 before New Orleans started to cut into it. The Pelicans spent the majority of the quarter trying to get the Bulls lead under 10 points and when former Bull E’Twaun Moore hit two free throws with 3:34 left in the quarter New Orleans was down eight points at 79-71. The Bulls did push their lead back into double digits on two occasions, but DeMarcus Cousins hit two free throws for the last two points of the quarter to make it an eight point game again 87-79 heading into the 4th.
Now Chicago has had issues all season beating teams with under .500 records, but when Bobby Portis hit a 3-pointer to give the Bulls a 19 point lead 100-81 with 8:36 left to play; this didn’t look like one of those games. First New Orleans went on a 10 to 2 run to cut the Bulls lead to 11 at 102-91 with 6:52 left to play. The Bulls built the lead back to 14 points with 4:43 left to play and it was looking like they might cruise to a victory. Not so fast; New Orleans went on a 16 to 7 run to make it a five point game with just :15 seconds left to play. Chicago added a couple of free throws to seal a victory 117-110 that ended up much closer than it looked to be.
Jimmy Butler was the games high scorer with 39 points while Rajon Rondo was the only other Bulls starter to reach double figures with 10 points. Rondo also handed out a game high 9 assists. Luckily for the Bulls Bobby Portis came in off the bench to score 21 points and grab a team high 11 rebounds. Joffrey Lauvergne also scored in double digits off the Bulls bench getting 15 points.
Anthony Davis was the Pelicans top scorer and posted a double-double. Davis had 30 points and 11 rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins also had a double-double for New Orleans with 26 points and a game high 18 rebounds. Jrue Holiday had 17 points and a team high 6 assists while Jordan Crawford came off the New Orleans bench to add 15 points.
With the win the Bulls improve to 38-39. Chicago will get a day off before they play their second of four consecutive roads games. The Bulls travel to New York to take on the 29-48 Knicks on Tuesday night. The Loss drops New Orleans record to 33-44 on the season. The Pelicans will also get a day off before they host the 36-40 Denver Nuggets Tuesday night.