Coby White drops 35 points in Bulls win over Hornets
Sam Sharpe - USA Today Sports

Coby White drops 35 points in Bulls win over Hornets

by - Senior Writer -

CHARLOTTE - It's to believe that given how this Chicago Bulls (23-26) team was playing for the better part of two months, they haven't been above .500 at any point this season or even .500 since the first handful of games. Yet, here we are as this team is battling to get back to the .500 mark while also trying to hold onto one of the final two playoff spots in the East.

Coming off a horrible loss to the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, the Bulls had a chance to get back on track against the Charlotte Hornets (10-36) Wednesday, as they hit the road to the Spectrum Center for the second game of a back-to-back. These are the games you have when you are the better team, as the Hornets have struggled since the jump this season.

Yet, for whatever reason, the Bulls continue to struggle against some of the bottom feeders in this league as they tend to play down to their competition. That was again the case in the first half as the Hornets managed to hold a two-point lead at the break. Then came the second half where the Bulls continued to take the Hornets best shot as things were knotted up at 86 after.

In the fourth, the Bulls finally started to impose their will as Coby White and company outscored the Hornets 31-24 in the final 12 minutes to secure the 117-110 victory. For White, it was a game he wouldn't soon forget as this was more than just a homecoming for him. One of the best players to come out of the North Carolina High School ranks, White continues to put together a tremendous season and has made all those trade talks a few seasons ago seem forgotten.

Whether getting to the rim or his ability to knock down the outside shot, White was on a mission in his home state as he dropped a game-high 35 points in the victory, one away from his career high. White also dished out nine assists and added seven boards, as this was one of his better overall performances of the season.

White may have set the tone, but Chicago had plenty of balance on the offensive end as all five starters and six total players landed in double figures to give the Bulls plenty of offensive balance. Nikola Vucevic continued to play well since coming back from the injured list, and after a four-game stretch where his numbers were down a bit, he bounced back with a great 22-point, 12 rebounds showing to post another double-double.

You also had Ayo Dosunmu continuing to step up his game on the offensive end, which puts the Bulls in an interesting position. Dosunmu is only in this lineup because Patrick Williams is out. Still, they need to consider leaving him in the starting lineup, as his offensive numbers have been impressive the past two weeks, adding 16 points and six assists.

Anytime you get that kind of production from three players, you are in great shape, which helps make up for when players have a night off. Demar DeRozan was one of those players who had an off night, as he only took 10 shots and connected on four of them to finish with 15 points. Alex Caruso rounded out the starters with 10 points as he continued to play all-star-level defense both on and off the ball.

While the starters were great for Chicago, the bench wasn't as sharp, apart from the 10 points and eight rebounds from Andre Drummond. The rest of the bench combined to have nine points as Julian Phillips picked up four, Terry Taylor three, and Jevon Carter two as the Bulls did what they needed for the victory.

A big reason for the Hornets struggles this season stems from not having LaMelo Ball, as he has missed most of this season with an injury. Without him, the offense isn't as sharp as it could be, and with Terry Rozier getting traded two weeks ago, this team will be in for a long rest of the season. They still have Miles Bridges, who is starting to come into his own with a team-high 30 points while adding 15 boards.

Chicago had no answers for Bridges offensively or defensively, but the Bulls did a pretty solid job apart from him. Brandon Miller added 21 points to join Bridges, but the performance from PJ Washington off the bench kept things interesting. Washington would be a starter on a lot of teams, and with 26 points and eight rebounds off the bench, you can see why he would start on most teams.

Had he not played, the Bulls would've run away with this game, but given his ability to score off the bench, he managed to keep the Hornets close most of the night. Joining those three was Nick Richards and his 10 points, but that was it in terms of double-digit scorers for the Hornets as the Bulls responded from a rough outing Tuesday to respond for a win. Chicago will have a few days off before returning to the United Center on Saturday to face off against the Sacramento Kings.

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