The Charlotte Bobcats had multiple opportunities to surprise the Chicago Bulls and win their fourth straight on the road.
Ultimately, the game was decided by Chicago’s best players in Derrick Rose and Luol Deng making shots and plays when it mattered. Rose had a quiet game, but scored five of his 12 points in the last two minutes of regulation, as well the assist to Deng for the 3-point shot to put the game away.
The Bobcats continued their smart play defensively and did a sound job disrupting the Bulls offensive flow. It’s clear the team has bought into Steve Clifford’s system and they’re seeing results.
While it’s unclear as to how the team will finish the season, the current effort is encouraging.
IN THE BONUS
- For the second consecutive game, the Bobcats attempted less free throws than their opponent.
- Jeff Adrien’s energy and toughness off the bench continues to impress. Adrien had six points, six rebounds, four blocks and three steals in 27 minutes. Adrien made a highlight reel block on Taj Gibson in the second half to put his stamp on the game.
- Cody Zeller had eight points on 2 of 7 shooting in addition to nine rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block.
- Jefferson could miss his ninth game of the season Wednesday when the Bobcats host the Brooklyn Nets. Jefferson has only missed nine games over the past three seasons.
- Josh McRoberts went 3 of 7 from 3-point range against Chicago. McRoberts is now shooting 37.8 percent on 3′s this season. While McRoberts went just 4 of 14 overall, he added six rebounds, five assists, and two blocks in 29 minutes.
- Charlotte has played the fourth easiest schedule in the league through 11 games.
- Jimmy Butler suffered a toe injury in the third quarter but returned to the game in the fourth.
Ben Gordon missed his 10th game of the season Monday with a DNP-CD.
Gordon, who is in the final season of a five-year, $58 million contract he signed in 2009, told the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson he wouldn’t mind a return to Chicago next summer for a chance to win a championship.
“I had a lot of success here [in Chicago], had a great time here,” Gordon said. “I’m not in position to rule anybody out.”
Gordon, the third overall pick in 2004, spent five seasons in Chicago before bolting to the Detroit Pistons in free agency. Gordon averaged 18.5 points and shot 41.5 percent from three as a Bull.
“I’m at the point now where I would love to win a championship before I’m done playing,” Gordon said. “I won one in high school and college, so I want to put myself in that type of situation. I feel it would complete my career.”
Jeff Taylor’s increased role has kept Gordon on the Bobcats bench. Charlotte is likely keeping Gordon and his $13 million expiring contract in hope of a trade. If not, it’s probable the Bobcats will buy Gordon out after the trade deadline.
ABOVE THE RIM
- Chris Barnewall, Rufus on Fire: Usually when a team shoots below 40 percent for the game, that’s a bad game. Against the Bulls it ‘s pretty much expected. The Bulls are notorious for making a game ugly with dominant physical defense and they sure made it tonight.
- Rick Bonnell, Charlotte Observer: The Bobcats average just over 29 trips to the line this season, third-highest in the NBA. But in the last two games, losses to the Miami Heat and Bulls, they’ve attempted 20 and 16 free throws. Poorly as they shoot in general, they can’t afford to let that advantage continue to erode. Still, they hung tough in an arena where they lost by 30 last time at United Center. It was a one-point deficit with 51 seconds left after Henderson (16 points, eight rebounds and six assists) hit two free throws.
- Candice Connell, Pippen Ain’t Easy: Not every game is going to be the same. Different opponents mean it’s not going to be the same poison every night. Tonight in particular the turnovers nearly cost Chicago the game.
- Dakota Schmidt, Queen City Hoops: During tonight’s game against Chicago, Zeller appears to be easing his way into the Bobcats offense. While his perimeter jumper is still developing, Zeller is starting to showcase his ability as an overall offensive player as he had a few instances where he worked off PnR’s and cuts to work his way to the rim.
- Ashley Wijangco, Pippen Ain’t Easy: What made the biggest impact in the lead change was the success the Bobcats experienced in the paint. They outscored the Bulls in that area 26-10 at halftime. Charlotte bailed Chicago out of a larger deficit by committing so many fouls, as they scored seven points off of free throws.