Davis-less Hornets take down Bulls
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Greivis Vasquez netted 18 points and handed out six assists as the New Orleans Hornets gutted out an 89-82 win over the Chicago Bulls at United Center.
Jason Smith dropped in 16 points in a 15-plus minute run off the bench, while Robin Lopez added 16 points, seven rebounds and four blocks for the Hornets, who played without No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis due to a concussion he suffered in Friday's win over Utah.
"Coach stressed to us this would be a tough physical game. It was a back-to- back for us, as it was for them," Smith said. "This is a tough environment to play in. They got on a run earlier in the game and the crowd really got behind them. The big key for us tonight was playing our defense."
Ryan Anderson contributed 12 points and 13 rebounds in the Hornets' first win over Chicago since the 2007-08 season -- an eight-game skid.
Luol Deng scored a game-high 19 points and added eight rebounds, while Nate Robinson netted 15 points off the bench.
Marco Belinelli and Taj Gibson finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the Bulls, who suffered their first loss of the season after wins over Cleveland and Sacramento.
"We got outhustled. They were physical from the start of the game. They set the tone right away," Gibson said.
New Orleans got off to a quick start, leading 16-6 with less than four minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Chicago, however, answered with a 12-2 burst to tie the game at 18, but a three-point play by Anderson gave the Hornets a 21-18 lead after the first 12 minutes.
A three-point play by Deng with 6:28 to play before the half sparked a 14-7 spurt, allowing Chicago to open a 44-37 margin with 1:45 to go.
New Orleans responded by closing the half with a 9-0 run to lead 46-44 at the break.
The Hornets led throughout the third stanza as a fadeaway jumper by rookie Austin Rivers with 6:49 to play in the quarter gave New Orleans a 58-48 advantage.
Gibson buried a 14-footer to cut the deficit to four late in the frame, but Smith nailed a pair of free throws to put the lead at 66-60 heading to the final quarter.
Chicago remained within arm's length for the duration of the fourth quarter, and got within two possessions with 1:16 to play courtesy of a 19-footer by Robinson.
But the Bulls were never able to get over the hump as Smith, Roger Mason Jr. and Brian Roberts each hit a pair of clutch free throws with under a minute to play, helping New Orleans hold on for the victory.
Chicago kicked off a four-game homestand Saturday ... The Bulls had won their last four home meetings with the Hornets ... Smith made all eight of his free throw attempts ... New Orleans blocked nine shots as a team and outrebounded the Bulls, 44-41 ... Chicago shot just 33 percent from the floor and 3-of-17 from three-point range.