Bulls snap 4-game losing streak, defeat the Hornets (Charlotte, NC) – The Bulls will receive a much-needed boost coming into this Thursday night matchup against the Charlotte Hornets. After missing the last 12 games due to health protocols, Zach LaVine will be returning to the lineup. Nikola Vučević will also come back from a hip injury that caused him to miss the past two games. The two All-Stars return at the perfect time for Chicago, as they have lost 7 of their last 11 games.
The Bulls beat Charlotte 108-91 on April 22nd, but LaMelo Ball did not play in that game. Ball has returned to the lineup for the Hornets and he makes everyone around him better. He will likely be the Rookie of the Year, as he averages 16 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Incorporating Zach LaVine back into the lineup will be important for Chicago, but guarding Ball tightly will be too.
Bulls control the paint in the 1st half
Chicago got off to a great start, with each starter scoring within the first 4.5 minutes. Patrick Williams led the team with 7 points early on, giving the Bulls a 17-8 advantage. Chicago had 10 assists on their 13 field goals in the 1st, which helped them lead 34-24 going into the 2nd. The Bulls also played great defense in the opening quarter, holding the Hornets to 9/22(40%) from the field.
Daniel Theis became the first double-digit scorer of the game for Chicago. He scored 7 of his 10 points in the 2nd quarter, which allowed the Bulls to go up 45-33. Vučević hit a three on the next possession to give the Bulls their largest lead at 48-33, with 6 minutes left. Terry Rozier, P.J. Washington and Caleb Martin each responded with three-pointers to close the gap for Charlotte at 51-42. The Bulls led 59-53 going into halftime.
Chicago dominated in the paint throughout the first half, outscoring Charlotte 26-12 in the restricted area. The Hornets were able to stay in the game, behind the 12 three-pointers they made. Vučević and Theis led the Bulls with 14 and 10 points respectively. Rozier and Washington both had 12 points for Charlotte
Vučević leads Bulls to a dominant 3rd quarter
Vučević and Theis scored 7 of the Bulls first 11 points in the 3rd. They helped Chicago extend their lead to 69-59 with 7 minutes left. Charlotte cut the lead down to 74-67 with 5.5 minutes left, but the Bulls ended the quarter on a 22-7 run. They also only gave up one three-pointer in the period to Charlotte. The Bulls led 96-74 going into the 4th, behind 10 points in the quarter from Vučević.
LaVine, Bulls finish strong against Charlotte
The Hornets outscored the Bulls 15-9 to start the 4th. Cody Zeller had a fast-break dunk to reduce their deficit down to 105-89 with 7 minutes left. LaVine countered with 8 of his 13 points in the 4th, to help the Bulls win 120-99.
After allowing Charlotte to make 12 three-pointers in the 1st half, the Bulls held them to only 4 three-pointers in the 2nd half. Chicago also maintained their points in the paint advantage, winning that battle 50-36. This was an overall team-effort from the Bulls, as 7 players scored in double figures. Vučević led the team with 29 points and 14 rebounds.
Washington led the Hornets with 24 points and 6 rebounds. Malik Monk also had 20 points and 7 assists.
Charlotte (32-34) will play the Orlando Magic (21-45) on Friday at 7pm CT.
Chicago (27-39) will face the Celtics (35-31) on Friday at 6:30pm CT.
Bulls snap 4-game losing streak, defeat the Hornets