NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 5 (Ticker) -- Eddy Curry
fought off his flu symptoms
and made the New Orleans Hornets feel miserable again.
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Curry had 17 points, nine rebounds and some key plays in the
closing moments to lead the resurgent Chicago Bulls to a 95-89
victory over the Hornets, who have lost nine straight games.
It was the Bulls' seventh victory in 10 games - their best
stretch in the seventh season of the post-Michael Jordan era -
and the third victory in their last four road contests. Chicago
led nearly 45 minutes and never trailed in the second half.
After missing Sunday's loss to Detroit with the flu, Curry said
he was shocked to play 37 minutes, including nine in the fourth
"After four or five minutes out there, I felt just lousy," said
Curry, who was 9-of-10 from the line. "And at halftime I just
went over there and sat on the bench. I just tried to compose
myself and tried to muster up a decent second half."
Curry led the Bulls with nine second-half points. In the final
two minutes, he blocked a shot and made 4-of-4 free throws to
help the Bulls seal the victory after the Hornets erased a
14-point deficit and tied the score at 78-78 with eight minutes
"It was great to have Eddy back," said Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich
who scored 19 points and was 7-of-8 inside the arc. "He's a
big-time low-post scorer. He's pretty much our No. 1 option.
Everybody was glad to see he was feeling all right. That's just
huge for us."
The Hornets fell to 1-12 at home and 2-28 overall, both
league-worst marks. They have won once since Nov. 22 and
have not broken 100 points in regulation this season.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Bostjan Nachbar
and Rodney Rogers
capped a 14-3 run that tied the game, but Hinrich's basket put
Chicago ahead to stay with 7:09 remaining and started a 7-1
spurt during which the Hornets missed five consecutive
"I don't know if our guys understand," Hornets coach Byron Scott
said. "We're trying to knock a team out with four or five
minutes left in the game. There is plenty of basketball left.
I had to remind them that we're 30th in the league in 3-point
percentage. So why shoot (so many)? We just didn't play smart
at the end."
Four rookies combined for 30 points for the Bulls (11-18),
including Luol Deng
's 14. Ben Gordon
had 11 off the bench for
his seventh consecutive game in double figures and Chris Duhon
returning to the area where he was a high school All-American -
had six assists.
Chicago, the NBA leader in turnovers, overcame 21 giveaways by
limiting New Orleans to 37 percent shooting and holding a 45-33
advantage on the glass. It was the 16th straight time that the
Bulls allowed less than 100 points, another high in the
"We've become a good defensive team," Bulls coach Scott Skiles
said. "We have not gotten destroyed at the free-throw line,
like we were earlier in the year. We've conquered those
problems, but we put a lot of pressure on ourselves on a nightly
basis because we turn it so much. Still way too many silly
turnovers. It's something we really have to conquer."
"We're playing with more confidence, and we're making plays,"
Hinrich said. "I know last year we'd start shaking the last
five minutes. Our knees would start shaking."
All-Star Baron Davis
led the Hornets with 21 points - his most
since missing 19 games in November and December because of a
back injury - but after the game had an ice bag taped to his
neck to ease tendinitis in his shoulder. Rogers, who missed 24
games because of a knee injury, had season highs of 19 points
and eight rebounds.
"We know that we're not a playoff contender any more, so we just
have to work on getting better with the guys that we've got and
get ready to have a strong push into the All-Star break," Davis
said. "We have a long way to go, but at the same time, we're
getting better each and every game."