CHARLOTTE, N.C. – How bad was Tuesday night for the Bulls?
They gave up 69 first-half points, were outrebounded 52-33, allowed the winless Charlotte Hornets to finally grab their first victory of the season, but maybe the worst indictment of the evening, actually played a part in resurrecting “Linsanity’’ – if just for a night – as back-up guard Jeremy Lin came off the bench and scored 15 points with a plus/minus of plus-21.
Then again, who didn’t score for Charlotte (1-3), as they crushed the Bulls 130-105 at the Time Warner Cable Arena?
“It was a complete domination from the tip, and they just had their way with us,’’ Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We didn’t have any fight, no resolve, didn’t try and go back at them. Just kind of accepted it tonight.
“I mean you want to compete. There’s nights that the ball is not going to go in the basket, you gotta fight. I mean they scored over 30 every quarter, and that’s disappointing. Everyone seemed like they were on an island. Not only on defense, but offense and defense. Just not a good night.’’
The 130 points scored by the Hornets was the most they’ve ever scored against a Bulls team, and was the most since they scored 130 points back in 1997 against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Hoiberg admittedly didn’t see this one coming.
“You could sense it right away, and I’m shocked because we had a great shootaround [Tuesday] morning,’’ Hoiberg said of the lack of energy. “We were as energetic in shootaround as we’ve been all year, and I guess I’ve been around long enough to know that doesn’t always carry over, but I loved our energy and spirit in shootaround. Obviously that did not carry over into the game.’’
And pick a player to blame.
Derrick Rose was still dealing with double vision, as well as inconsistent in pushing the ball up the court with the quick pace that Hoiberg wants to play with. Pau Gasol was having all kinds of trouble with Al Jefferson. While Nikola Mirotic shot 2-for-11 from the field, and his defensive holes were exposed.
There was a reason why those three starters each played under 24 minutes on the evening.
“We didn’t have an edge,’’ Rose said. “It showed. It’s frustrating. That’s the first time I think we saw that this season. [Wednesday] we could talk about it, look at film. It’s all about giving that effort. That’s from the starters all the way down to the bench.
“I wouldn’t say embarrassing. It’s frustrating, knowing that we could’ve stopped it in the first quarter. When they were going on their run, we could’ve done something to adjust. But we took too long. I really think it was just the effort and having that competitive edge.’’
The Bulls might want to find that edge, and quickly. With Wednesday a practice day, Thursday the Bulls will welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder into town. If they thought Charlotte could score in bunches …
“We’ve got the most powerful offensive team in the league coming in on Thursday,’’ Hoiberg said. “Yeah, we’ll see what we’re made of.
“We’ve gotta bounce back with a great practice [Wednesday]. You gotta get back there to erase the sting of this one. Just flush it down the toilet and hopefully move on with a better effort on Thursday.’’
It couldn’t be any worse.