The Charlotte Bobcats entered the Windy City with hopes of snapping a two game skid on Saturday night, but Chicago had other plans for the inexperienced 'Cats. Even though Derrick Rose was a no-go and Joakim Noah was a late scratch, the Bulls were able to control the game from the opening tip and were able to brush off the Bobcats as if they were nothing more than a pest.
Carlos Boozer poured in a game-high 23 points to go with nine rebounds as he was afforded wide open looks for most of the night. Gerald Henderson continued to show off his improved game on the offensive side of the ball finishing with a team-high 22 points (9-17). It's becoming apparent that Henderson is developing into the Bobcats' go-to-guy when they need a bucket, or buckets in general.
The game started off with Byron Mullens bricking a long jumper that went off the backboard. That shot pretty much summed up the night for Charlotte. Mullens' long jumpers were a breath of fresh air a week or two ago, but they are getting straight up annoying now. Instead of working on his post game, which he doesn't have, or taking the ball to the hoop a bit more he continues to settle for 18-to-20 foot jumpers. Not exactly a recipe for success over the long haul.
Early on it looked as though the Bulls might pull away and never look back but give credit to the Bobcats as they fought hard to keep it close through the first half. Charlotte even held a lead up until the 2:53 mark in the second quarter when C.J. Watson buried a three to give Chicago a one-point edge. Watson's three started an 11-2 run in favor of the Bulls to close the the first half. The Bulls took a 50-43 lead into the locker room and wouldn't look back.
Neither team played particularly well in this game, yet the Bulls consistently got better looks than the Bobcats did. Charlotte settled for jumpers for much of the night while Chicago moved the ball well and often found someone wide open for a three or got a shot within 12 feet of the basket. The game never really felt close in the second half as the Bulls' lead usually hovered around 11, but ballooned to 19 close to halfway through the fourth quarter after Luol Deng sank a 19-footer. Speaking of Deng, he had a strong night offensively recording 22 points to go with eight boards and four assists.
Once the lead hit 19 the Bobcats started to chip into it slowly but surely, although it never got to the point where Chicago was in threat of actually blowing the lead. The Bulls started to let off the gas once the lead hit 19 and they looked across at their opponent and saw not one starter on the floor. I can't remember exactly at what point Paul Silas yanked all of the starters, but I do remember Boris Diaw looking somewhat engaged in the action for a change.
For those that missed the game you really didn't miss a whole lot. The rookies didn't do anything noteworthy and Kemba Walker really struggled against the size of the Bulls.
Gerald Henderson--I already mentioned that Hendo appears to be emerging into the Bobcats' go-to-guy, but I also think it's worth mentioning that he's becoming much more aggressive than earlier in the year. He still settles for jumpers at times though, which is something that is expected for a guy that is still learning how to score. Oh, he also snared nine rebounds to go with his 22 points.
Luol Deng--Without Rose in the lineup, Deng had to help pick up the scoring slack. He did his part scoring 22 points and he always seemed to hit a timely shot when the Bobcats were trying to make a run.
Omer Asik--The late scratch of Noah opened more playing time for Asik and he responded with 15 rebounds including five that were offensive. He only had six points but he gave the Bulls 39 good minutes.
Kemba Walker--The rookie had a rough go of it Saturday night. Walker passed on some shots in my opinion in order to try and make a pass which ended up leading to turnovers on more than one occasion. It seems that his confidence may be a little shook right now, and nights like this aren't going to help. He finished with just four points and had four turnovers.
D.J. Augustin--As bad as Walker was against the Bulls, Augustin was worse. His up and down season continued against Chicago as he shot 1-for-6, had just three assists and turned the ball over four times.
Byron Mullens--Yeah he had 17 points and ended up 7-of-14 from the field, but as I said earlier everything is a long jumper from Mullens. He also was a bit trigger happy against the Bulls as he forced up long shot after long shot early in the shot clock. On the defensive end he was routinely abused and he only finished with five boards.