The end of Charlotte’s 18-game losing streak will get most of the attention, but an even longer drought came to a close when the Bobcats beat the Bulls on Monday at the United Center.
Ben Gordon beat the Bulls for the first time in his NBA career.
Gordon left Chicago in 2009 as a free agent and went 0-11 against the Bulls as a member of the Detroit Pistons. He was traded to Charlotte this summer and finally turned the tables.
“I need to make a habit out of it, man,” said Gordon, who scored 15 points Monday. “We’ve been losing every time I come here. It’s good to finally get a ‘W.’ More importantly, just breaking that streak we had. Happy about that.”
Gordon didn’t necessarily want to leave the Bulls, but the Pistons gave him a much bigger contract than the Bulls offered. Since he left, Gordon’s teams have complied a 90-171 record and haven’t made the playoffs.
“I’ve had some tough years, but I think the best is yet to come,” he said. “I think my best basketball is ahead of me. Just looking forward to trying to get better each year and hopefully we can turn this situation around here and make the best out of it.
“Initially, it was a little bit of a shock (to get traded), but not really. That’s part of the business. It’s my ninth year and I’ve never been traded before, so it was good to kind of get that out of my system.”
Hacks join the attack:
While the Bulls tried in vain to catch up to Charlotte in the fourth quarter, coach Tom Thibodeau resorted to fouling intentionally.
It started with “Hack-a-Bismack.” Bobcats center Bismack Biyombo, a 50-percent free-throw shooter on the season, went 2-for-6 at the line, then was removed from the game. So the Bulls tried hacking Jeff Adrien and Hakim Warrick.
Charlotte made 21 of 38 free throws overall, but the Bulls’ strategy didn’t help. They never got closer than 7 points in the final minutes.
“We were just searching for anything that can maybe get you going,” Thibodeau said. “So we tried to foul. We tried the trapping. All the stuff you have to resort to when you’re behind and trying to find a way back into the game.”
One of the Bulls’ assets for the future is tied to Charlotte’s success, or lack of it. They are awaiting a first-round draft pick from the Bobcats, acquired in the 2010 Tyrus Thomas trade.
The pick is top-12 protected in 2013, which means Charlotte would have to either make the playoffs or own one of the two best records among non-playoff teams to give the pick to the Bulls this year.
Looking ahead, the draft pick is top-10 protected in 2014, top-8 protected in 2015 and unprotected in 2016. So, obviously, the Bulls are hoping the Bobcats stay bad and hit a low mark three seasons from now.
Brunson family values:
Former Bulls assistant coach Rick Brunson returned to town in the same role with Charlotte, after changing jobs this summer. He left behind a talented son, Jalen, a sophomore basketball player at Stevenson High School. Brunson said he’s been able to get back and watch his son three times so far this season.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.