The Bulls Monday suffered a catastrophic collapse in regulation, surrendering an 18-point lead in the last seven minutes and then losing 132-128 to the New Orleans Pelicans in double overtime.
It became an ending filled with extraordinary, exciting and enervating events as DeMarcus Cousins eventually proved too much with 44 points, 24 rebounds and 10 assists.
After the Pelicans came all the way back and took a 114-112 lead at the end of regulation, the Bulls without a timeout and 3.2 seconds left, the Bulls threw full court and New Orleans fouled Justin Holiday on a three. Making all three would have meant the win. He made the first two and missed the third. Then in the first overtime, the Bulls took a pair of three-point leads to start and then gave up second chances for baskets. In the second overtime, the Bulls couldn’t survive three consecutive turnovers after falling behind 130-126.
The Bulls were led by Robin Lopez with 22 points and Jerian Grant with 22 points and 13 assists, but with six turnovers and three in the overtime. Lauri Markkanen had 14 points and a career best 17 rebounds. Zach LaVine had 19 points, Holiday 15 and Nikola Mirotic 14. Anthony Davis had 34 points for the Pelicans before fouling out. New Orleans was 16 of 44 on threes.
The Bulls fell to 18-29. The Pelicans are 25-21.
Kris Dunn remained out for a second consecutive game with a concussion. So Ryan Arcidiacono was in reserve on his two-way G-league contract after an excellent outing in the victory over Atlanta Saturday. After the 3-20 start, the Bulls were 15-8 coming into Monday’s game and back to a per game plus, averaging 110.7 points and giving up 109.8. Historically, that translates to a team winning about 45 games. The Bulls in their 3-20 stretch were averaging about 11 points fewer per game than they were scoring. That would translate to historic ineptitude. The worst ever 1973 76ers scored 12 fewer points per game than they yielded. Cristiano Felicio and Paul Zipser was back with the team after playing with G-league Windy City Saturday. Grant started again with Dunn out and went on to lead the Bulls in scoring in the first half with 13 points and two of the Bulls three three pointers as the Bulls were three of 15 on threes in the first half in trailing 54-48. The Bulls got off to a good start with the Pelicans’ big men and Rajon Rondo oddly shooting theres, the Bulls ahead 13-5. Markkanen had just two points, but it was impressive faking Davis and then dunking with Cousins getting out of the way. LaVine had a pair of dunks, one on a full court Markkanen pass. The Bulls led 19-11, but with their second unit substitution began to revert to three-point shooting. The Pelicans closed the first quarter with a 14-2 run for a 25-21 lead. New Orleans extended that to 39-26 early in the second quarter with Cousins finally venturing inside. LaVine then got another runout score for a three-point play and with penetration scores from Grant the Bulls got within 54-48 at halftime. Markkanen had 11 rebounds and two assists in the first half with two points.
The Bulls opens the second half ambitious with a LaVine three and driving score for a three-point play, a 10-2 start for a 58-56 lead. But then it was Cousins and Davis inside and out with their own 9-2 answer to reassume a 65-60 lead. Lopez continued his offensive excellence in partnership with Grant. Markkanen then got another dunk on a lob from Grant and the Bulls finally warmed up from three land as Holiday made a pair and Valentine one for an 82-75 Bulls lead. But the Bulls were careless to end the quarter and the Pelicans tied the score at 81 after three quarters. Markkanen equalled his career high with 14 rebounds through three quarters. The Bulls started another quarter with a rush, seven straight points and a 22-5 run overall to take a 104-86 lead with 7:33 left in the game. Pelicans players were growing frustrated with physical play by the Bulls and David Nwaba dunking and fighting inside for second shots. Jameer Nelson for a technical for a running tackle on Mirotic. But the Pelicans then fought back within 108-98 with four minutes left by pressuring the Bulls guards with Dunn out and the Bulls began to melt against the New Orleans pressure. With 46 seconds left in the game, former Bull E’Twaun Moore grabbed an air ball and passed out to Jrue Holiday for a three to tie the game at 110. The Pelicans took a 114-112 lead with 3.2 seconds left. The Bulls then threw in full court to Holiday, who was fouled as time was running out. Holiday had three free throws to win the game. He made the first two and the third spun out for the second overtime game between the teams this season. The Pelicans won 96-90 in overtime in the United Center Nov. 4. The Bulls opened the first overtime with a three-point lead on a Mirotic roll and tree-point play and then Markkanen driving in for a dunk. But again the Bulls couldn’t get second shots and forced up some off balanced threes. The Pelicans had a chance to win with a three missing at the end of the first overtime.