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Monday, December 2, 2013
Rapid Reax: Pelicans 131, Bulls 128 (3OT)

By Nick Friedell



CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the New Orleans Pelicans pulled out a 131-128 triple-overtime win over the Chicago Bulls Monday night at the United Center:

How it happened: Ryan Anderson led the Pelicans with 36 points, while Eric Gordon added 23 points as New Orleans made one more big play than the Bulls when it mattered most. Luol Deng played another all-around great game for the Bulls, scoring a game-high 37 points, pulling down 8 rebounds and dishing out 7 assists in 56 minutes. Less than a week after setting a career high in points, Taj Gibson set another one with 26. He also had 14 rebounds.

What it means: Deng and Gibson played very well in this game, but the Bulls' biggest problem remains the same -- they don't have a closer to go to down the stretch without Derrick Rose on the floor. When the Bulls needed a big shot at the end of regulation and in the overtimes, they didn't have anywhere to turn and allowed the Pelicans to make plays. The Bulls have plenty of heart under Tom Thibodeau; they just don't have enough talent to close out games without Rose. They also had a bad defensive breakdown that allowed Jrue Holiday to get to the rim to score the winning basket.

Stats of the night: The Bulls shot 59 percent from the field in the first half -- and still lost. Joakim Noah, Kirk Hinrich and Deng combined to play 159 minutes.

Hits: Mike Dunleavy Jr. had a big game off the bench, scoring 23 points.

Misses: Hinrich was just 4-for-15 from the field.

What's next: The Bulls have a couple days off before facing off against the Miami Heat on Thursday night.