The Bulls were stung Tuesday, again and again and again, dominated from the start by the Charlotte Hornets 130-105.
The Bulls fell to 3-2 and face high scoring Oklahoma City in the United Center Thursday in a TNT national game.
This never was much of a competition as the Bulls never led, trailed by double digits 10 minutes into the game and never were closer. The Hornets led by 21 points four minutes into to the second quarter both raining down threes and getting easily to the rim and the Bulls trailed by more than 20 virtually the rest of the game.
The Bulls were led by Jimmy Butler with 26 points with four of six three pointers. Doug McDermott had 17 points and five of 8 threes. Derrick Rose had four points in 24 minutes for his first ever three consecutive games failing to score in double digits. The Hornets had seven players in double figures led by Jeremy Lamb off the bench with 20. The Hornets were 14 of 23 on threes and outrebounded the Bulls 52-33.
The 130 points were the most the Bulls have given up since March 2010 in a 132-108 loss to Utah.
The Bulls got off to a good start. In the first minute, anyway, as it was 2-2 before the Hornets bolted ahead 17-9 in the first six minutes as they routinely beat the Bulls off the dribble for layups and inside for short jumpers. Charlotte had would have 20 first half inside points and eight of 10 threes.
The Bulls then got scores from Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic. But the Hornets went on an 18-6 run to close the first quarter leading 37-20 and shooting 72.2 percent. The Charlotte onslaught continued as they pushed their lead to 58-32 midway through the second quarter as Frank Kaminsky banked in a 28-foot three pointer. It was going that way. The Bulls got threes from Butler and Aaron Brooks with a 35 footer at the halftime buzzer to get within 69-47 at halftime.
Butler was made his three three pointers for 15 points. But the Bulls defense was soft and slow as eight Charlotte players scored at least six points led by Kemba Walker with 11. It was the Hornets kind of night as Kemba Walker closed the third quarter with their second accidental banked in three of the game for a 100-77 lead after three quarters. The Bulls made a bit of a run behind the three-point shooting of Butler and McDermott. That got them within 17 late in the third quarter before Jeremy Lin drove from the top of the key unimpeded for a layup.