Bill Smith/Chicago Bulls
4th quarter propels Bulls past Pelicans 98-94
Bulls improve to 13-8 on season
By Sam Smith | 12.12.2015 | 9:30 p.m.
And the little ones will lead them.
Aaron Brooks and Derrick Rose scored in the last two minutes to save the Bulls in a 98-94 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Brooks with 15 fourth quarter points of his 17 made a driving left scoop layup and then Rose hit a step back jumper on a switch over Anthony Davis. The pair helped carry the Bulls back from a 14-point deficit.
The Bulls moved to 13-8 while the Pelicans are 6-17.
Pau Gasol led six Bulls in double figures with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Jimmy Butler added 15, but it was a huge emotional effort from Joakim Noah with 10 points and nine rebounds that was crucial. Tyreke Evans and Davis had 22 for New Orleans. Doug McDermott added 12 for the Bulls.
It wasn’t exactly a game impact, but it was a new Rose on the outside as Rose came with a new short haircut and without his protective face mask to start the game for the first time this season. Rose also went hard at the basket to start the game for a driving score, but the Bulls bogged down and were behind 9-6 midway through the first quarter when coach Fred Hoiberg went with an early substitution of three starters. It didn’t exactly have the desired result as that three-point deficit went to eight with seven turnovers as the Pelicans led 28-20 after one quarter.
The Bulls feel deeper into the hole to start the second quarter as the Pelicans flew ahead 37-23 behind’s Davis’ shooting. Rose with a pair of floaters and pick and pop pass to Gasol got the Bulls moving back, though it was more a stiffening defense as the Bulls pulled within 45-42 at halftime with a 12-4 run to close the quarter. The Bulls even got a fast shot with Rose pushing out of the backcourt to find Doug McDermott for a three with a cross court laser pass. The Bulls offense continued to sputter with a lot of individual play after halftime as the Pelicans resumed a 10-point lead at 59-49. The Bulls then got Gasol to the free throw line and finally some drive and kick to open Doug McDermott to pull within 65-64, but trailing 70-64 going into the fourth quarter.
The Bulls then streaked out to start the fourth quarter with a pair of threes from Aaron Brooks and one from Kirk Hinrich to give the Bulls a 73-70 lead, their first since early in the first quarter. Hoiberg again stayed with Brooks late as Noah provided great enthusiasm and hustle in defending Davis as it then became a shootout with Tyreke Evans for the Pelicans and Brooks with a pair of strong finishes for scores to give the Bulls a three-point lead heading into the last two minutes.