Bulls blitz Pelicans behind historic 3-pt shooting night
|Thursday, February 11, 2021, 10:44 AM- -|
Amid their roughest stretch this season, the Bulls were looking to get back on track Wednesday as they welcomed the surging Pelicans to town. Coming off a win Tuesday against the Rockets and in the middle of a four-game winning streak, New Orleans looked like a bad matchup for the Bulls on paper.
This is why games are not played on paper, as the Bulls used a historic night from behind the arc to top the Pelicans 129-116. Not only did Chicago knock down a franchise record 25 three's in the game, but they also became the first team in NBA history to have two players drain eight or more three's in a game, with Coby White knocking down eight and Zach Lavine hitting nine. Both combined for 76 points, with Lavine leading the way with 46.
From the opening tip, fans got a sense of how this game would be as both offenses were ready to go. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram got things going for New Orleans while Patrick Williams and Daniel Gafford answered for Chicago. After White tied things up 8-8 with his three, Lonzo Ball answered with a three of his own to give the Pelicans the lead. Ball is undoubtedly someone Bulls fans should pay close attention to as Chicago continues to find themselves in rumored trade talks for him.
Now down six after a pair of Williamson and Eric Bledsoe buckets, the Bulls needed to get back to the basics and turned to Garrett Temple to get things going. His seven points in the first quarter ignited the Bulls offense as they now led 22-21. At this point in the game, where Lavine took over, sinking two of what was a perfect 5-5 from behind the arc in the first quarter en route to 20 first-quarter points helping Chicago race out to a 44-34 lead after one.
What a difference a quarter can make.
Whatever adjustments Stan Van Gundy made after that first quarter quickly paid off as the Pelicans played like an entirely different team. Still down 13 after a White three, Kira Lewis Jr got in on the action helping bring things within single digits. After Thaddeus Young stretched the lead to 10 yet again, JJ Redick and Williamson had answers as the Duke duo got things within one possession.
With Ingram and White exchanging buckets to keep the Bulls in front, it was time for the Pelicans to go inside with Williamson and Bledsoe attacking the lane. Add in a pair of Ball threes late in the quarter, and New Orleans ended the half on a 15-0 run to take a 74-66 lead into the locker room. Knowing they needed to make significant adjustments, Billy Donovan did just that as the Bulls used a 17-2 run to open the second half to grab the lead for good.
As more three's continued to fall for Lavine and White on the outside, things began to open in the lane, which allowed for Gafford to bring the pain on the rim. A pair of inside buckets for him got the defense to tighten up before White knocked down consecutive threes to build the lead to 93-81. That lead only continued to grow as the quarter winded down, with Denzel Valentine getting in on the three-point fun, giving Chicago a commanding 106-88 lead.
Despite a comfortable lead in hand, Chicago saw what the Pelicans did in the second quarter and wanted to make sure that didn't happen again. To do that, they attacked New Orleans in different ways, with Valentine and Temple starting to penetrate the lane. With a nearly 20-point deficit to overcome, the Pelicans needed to lean heavily on Williamson and Ingram.
Even with Young and the bench continuing to deliver, Williamson was inserting himself inside, pulling things within 11 once again. Looking to provide a back-breaking bucket, Tomas Satoransky knocked down another three, followed by five straight Lavine points to push the lead back to 17. Despite Ball and Josh Hart knocking some shots down the stretch, it was nowhere near enough to knock off the hot shooting Bulls as Chicago comes away with the 129-116 win.
The win moves the Bulls to 10-14 on the season as they continue to be right the thick of things for the final playoff spot reaching the 1/3 mark of the season. Lavine set the tone right from the start, leading all scorers with a season-high 46. White dropped 30 of his own to go with Valentine and his 16. New Orleans was led by a trio of 20-point efforts, with Williamson dropping 29. Both Ingram and Ball added 21 each in the loss.