Improbable Bulls’ rally stuns Bobcats in OT
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Chris Duhon finished with a triple-double with
18 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, as the Chicago Bulls overcame a 25-
point deficit and an injured Kirk Hinrich to beat the Charlotte Bobcats,
109-105, in overtime in the season opener for both clubs.
Hinrich went down with a sprained left ankle with 2:48 left in the third
quarter, when the Bulls trailed 83-62. Chicago, which trailed 89-68 going into
the fourth, held Charlotte to nine points in the quarter and was able to rally
behind the strong play of Eric Piatkowski and Tyson Chandler.
Piatkowski, Chandler and Darius Songaila each scored 11 points in the contest.
Ben Gordon added 14 points for Chicago, which scored the final nine points of
regulation. Chandler also had 11 rebounds.
“Most teams are going to make some sort of a comeback,” Bulls head coach Scott
Skiles said. “To come all the way back, we had to play harder and make plays.
We had a little luck too.”
Gerald Wallace had 28 points and Emeka Okafor added 16 points and 12 rebounds
for Charlotte, which was ahead 70-45 at one point in the third quarter. Melvin
Ely had 13 points and 15 rebounds.
“Chicago got Christmas early,” said Bobcats head coach Bernie Bickerstaff.
“What went wrong in the fourth quarter is absolutely a concern for us.”
Songaila’s three-pointer with 5.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter tied the
game at 98, forcing overtime. Rookie Raymond Felton had a chance to give
Charlotte the win, but his three-pointer from 26 feet away was off the mark.
A layup by Duhon 25 seconds into overtime gave the Bulls their first lead of
the game, but a jumper by Wallace tied the game at 100.
Chandler put in a layup with 2:12 left to give the Bulls a 104-102 lead and
added a slam with 1:06 remaining to up Chicago’s edge to 106-102. A free throw
by Duhon made it a five-point contest, but Primoz Brezec’s three-point play
pulled Charlotte within 107-105 with 9.6 seconds left.
Songaila’s two free throws with 8.5 seconds remaining sealed the win.
The Bulls have won all five meetings between these clubs.
The Bobcats didn’t trail for all of regulation. They scored 12 of the game’s
first 17 points and led 28-20 after one quarter. Charlotte scored 11 straight
points at one juncture of the second quarter and led 59-40 at the half.
Charlotte’s lead grew to 70-45 with 8:48 left in the third quarter on a jumper
by Kareem Rush. The Bulls would still trail by 21 going into the fourth.
Eight straight points by the Bulls pulled them within 91-78 with 6:34
remaining following a free throw by Gordon. Piatkowski’s second three-pointer
of the period brought the Bulls within 93-81 and Gordon’s three-pointer had
Chicago within 95-84.
It looked as if the Bobcats sealed the victory following a three-pointer by
Wallace with 2:22 left. Piatkowski then missed a three, but Charlotte couldn’t
take advantage. Rush missed a three-pointer.
Gordon’s one free throw made it 98-90 with 1:49 left in regulation and
Songaila’s 20-foot jumper had the Bulls within six points. Felton missed a
three-pointer with 40 seconds left to set up the frantic finish to regulation.
“We started playing hard. We started getting stops, we started getting
rebounds, we started getting loose balls,” Duhon said of the fourth quarter
spurt. “That was pretty much the story.”
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was honored at center court before the game
and received a standing ovation…Hinrich was hurt after making a layup, as he
came down awkwardly on his ankle…The Bobcats outrebounded the Bulls,
56-43…Felton had 10 points…Mike Sweetney and Luol Deng each had 10 points