Game Preview: Pelicans vs. Bulls - February 1, 2014
In a rematch of what was arguably the best game played so far during the entire 2013-14 NBA season, the New Orleans Pelicans will host the Chicago Bulls on Saturday evening. Almost exactly two months ago, the Pelicans outlasted the Bulls in a triple-overtime instant classic, 131-128.
The Dec. 2 matchup in the Windy City was filled with late-game heroics, including the Bulls incredibly scoring game-tying baskets in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, overtime and the second OT. Not to be outdone, the Pelicans finally emerged victorious in the third OT, when Jrue Holiday took an inbounds pass from the left sideline, dribbled into the paint, then converted an and-one layup over defender Taj Gibson, with just 2.6 seconds remaining on the clock. Holiday sank the subsequent free throw for a 131-128 margin, followed by Chicago misfiring on a three-point attempt at the buzzer.
“I’m not sure that I have ever played in one like this and I know I haven’t coached one like that,” Pelicans fourth-year sideline leader Monty Williams said afterward. “We just put our heart and soul into a game like this and it takes a lot out of you.”
Unfortunately for both teams, they’ve had to play without their All-Star point guards for chunks of this season. Holiday was sidelined in early January with a stress fracture in his right shin, while the Bulls’ Derrick Rose (a former league MVP) has been out since Nov. 22 with a knee injury. Holiday is out of action indefinitely, while Rose is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
In Rose’s absence, the Bulls have hovered around .500 and are in the thick of the chase for homecourt advantage in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Chicago has qualified for the postseason each of the past five years, including the last three under head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Anthony Davis vs. Carlos Boozer