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Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Bulls 99, Hornets 95

By Nick Friedell



CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls pulled out a 99-95 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday night at the United Center.

How it happened: Derrick Rose hit a running floater with 19.4 seconds to play that gave the Bulls a lead they wouldn't relinquish. The Bulls won a game they tried to give away at times. Rose finished the game with 32 points and nine assists. Joakim Noah had another solid performance, going off for 15 points and 16 rebounds. Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer each scored 14 points.

What it means: Tom Thibodeau is never very happy with the way his team performs after games, but he certainly won't be pleased with the way his team closed this game out. They played well at various points, especially with Rip Hamilton on the floor, but the Bulls defense was lacking at times and they got outworked by a scrappy Hornets team that never gave in. Obviously, the Bulls were working off some rust from the All-Star break. But Thibodeau knows his team is going to have to play a lot better in order to win Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs. Aside from Rose, the Bulls struggled to find consistent offense and went through too many scoring droughts. That kind of play is not going to be enough against the upper echelon teams the Bulls will be facing over the next few weeks.

Stats of the night: The Bulls outscored the Hornets 60-46 in the paint.

What's next: The Bulls next take on the Spurs, in a matchup between two of the NBA's best teams. Thibodeau has a lot of respect for the way the Spurs play, so it will be interesting to see how prepared his team is on the second night of a back-to-back.