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RECAP: Chicago Bulls Hustle the Hornets

The Bulls took care of business on Friday night, defeating the Charlotte Hornets 123–110 in Charlotte.

Lauri Markkanen Bulls
Photo: Chicago Bulls/ Twitter

The Summary

The Chicago Bulls took down the Charlotte Hornets 123–110 on the road. This gives the Bulls a three-game win streak and a 7-8 record. The Bulls took care of the ball, passed effectively, and played solid defense (outside of the first quarter). Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 25 points, and Gordon Hayward led all scorers with 34.

The Set Up

The Bulls came into Friday’s game against the Hornets riding a two-game win streak. Of course, they also got a three-day rest coming off of Monday’s victory against the Houston Rockets. In that time period, Patrick Williams came back from the injured list, and Tomáš Satoranský came back from the COVID-reserve list. On the other end, Wendell Carter Jr. joined the injured list and was unavailable for Friday’s game.

Balanced Bulls

Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen had great games, but no Bull had to play hero ball. They all played within the offense. LaVine had 25 points and nine assists on 67% shooting. Markkanen had 23 points on 59% shooting. They were joined on the double-figure scoring list by Coby White (18), Garrett Temple (15), and Otto Porter Jr. (13). Still, everyone chipped in. The least impactful player was arguably Satoranský who still chipped in four assists and two steals in 11 minutes.

The Bulls moved the ball beautifully, ending up with 33 assists and impressive passing all night. LaVine and White had nine and eight assists, respectively.

Underwhelming Rookies Seem Overwhelmed

There was a lot of hype heading into this game for the Patrick Williams-LaMelo Ball matchup. Ball, the third overall pick in the 2020 draft, was a player many Bulls fans wanted with the fourth pick. Of course, that became Patrick Williams when Ball was off the board. Both rookies have put together admirable seasons; however, neither rookie seemed to have it together Friday night.

There were highlight plays for both rookies, but Williams put up four points and six rebounds in 16 minutes on 2/7 shooting, and Ball put up seven points and two assists to go with five turnovers in 17 minutes. Williams may still be dealing with his hip injury, but it remains to be seen if that is the case.

This Bulls Bench is Great

The Bulls had one of the better bench units in recent memory when they had the bench mob back in the early 2010’s. Now, a veteran unit led by Garrett Temple, Thaddeus Young, and Otto Porter Jr. is really impressing for the 2021 Bulls. The bench outscored the Hornets’s bench 46 to 20. Young, Temple, and Porter Jr. were also all on the floor with Zach LaVine and Coby White to close the game. Temple’s signing—scrutinized at the time—appears to look better and better, even with his five turnovers on Friday.

Speaking of Turnovers

The Bulls were on the right side of the turnover battle as the Hornets turned the ball over time and time again. Chicago had 15 turnovers, but—remember—Garrett Temple had five of them. It was good to see the Bulls take care of the ball better.

What’s On Tap Next?

The streaking Bulls will take on the Los Angeles Lakers at home tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. CST. The Lakers are 7-0 on the road, and the Bulls will see Anthony Davis—who the Lakers didn’t have last time when the Bulls lost to the Lakers 117–115. We’ll see you then, and be sure to stay up to date on all things Chicago basketball by tuning in to the Bulls On Tap podcast.

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Bulls Writer for OnTapSportsNet. Author of Extraordinary Girl, available on Amazon and at other select retailers.

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