Page last updated on Sun Dec 21 15:51:02 EST 2014
11/04/2012 12:08 AM EDT
Without Davis, Hornets beat Bulls 89-82

AP Sports Writer

CHICAGO (AP) -- It didn't matter to Robin Lopez or the rest of
the Hornets that Anthony Davis was back in New Orleans.

They weren't dwelling on it. Instead, they were dealing with it.

Greivis Vasquez scored 18 points and the balanced Hornets beat
the Chicago Bulls 89-82 on Saturday night even though they were
missing the No. 1 draft pick.

"That's the big thing about a team game," Lopez said. "Everybody
came together and everybody stepped it up."

Lopez and Jason Smith scored 16 apiece. Ryan Anderson added 12
points and 13 rebounds, and the Hornets hit 20 of 23 free throws
to get the win even though Davis was nursing a mild concussion.

Luol Deng had 19 points and eight rebounds for Chicago. Nate
Robinson scored 15, and Marco Belinelli added 13 against his
former team, but the Bulls shot 33 percent in this one after
hitting just under 64 percent of their shots the previous night
in an easy win over Cleveland. It was a particularly rough night
for Richard Hamilton and Carlos Boozer, who shot a combined 3
for 18 and each finished with four points after scoring 19
apiece against the Cavaliers.

The Hornets trailed by seven in the second quarter and led by 10
in the third but had to hang on down the stretch, with Robinson
making it as tough as he could on them.

He scored all but four of his points in the fourth to help keep
the Bulls in it, but they ultimately came up short.

His jumper with 1:16 left made it 81-77, and Chicago had a
chance to make it a one-possession game after Taj Gibson blocked
Smith. Instead, Belinelli missed a 3.

Smith hit two free throws with 53.5 seconds left. Roger Mason
added two more to make it 85-77, and the Hornets prevailed
because they didn't back down without their prized rookie.

"We don't get a lot of credit or notoriety for being a physical
team, but that's something we've prided ourselves on since I've
been here, was to play a physical style of basketball, legally,"
coach Monty Williams said. "I don't think we out-worked them, I
just think the ball came our way a few times and it was just a
major battle in that paint. Anytime you play against Chicago, a
team that (Tom Thibodeau) is gonna coach, you know you're gonna
play a team that is gonna hit you right in the mouth."

He had to be feeling better after this one. Before the game,
though, he made it clear he wasn't thrilled with the NBA.

While Davis was back in New Orleans being examined after taking
an inadvertent elbow to the head from teammate Austin Rivers in
the first half of Friday's win over Utah, Williams was

He blasted the NBA's protocols for determining when a player can
return from a concussion before this game, saying, "Now, they
treat everybody like they have white gloves and pink drawers and
it's getting old. It's just the way the league is now."

He had to like the way his team stepped up even though Davis was

"You see how guys came in with high motors, understood that this
is their time to get their minutes," Chicago's Taj Gibson said.
"This league is all about guys stepping up. You saw Robin Lopez
and Ryan Anderson, guys coming in with a high motor, gaining
confidence early and playing well."

The Bulls also saw some missed opportunities, particularly near
the rim. When they drove, Thibodeau said he saw "a lot of
flipping instead of attacking," but it wasn't just that. He saw
players not hustling back on defense after a miss, and that
really bothered him.

"The thing that bothered me was our approach to defensive
transition," he said. "When you're not shooting well, you can't
allow that to sap your energy in terms of getting back, setting
your defense."

Notes: When he was an assistant in Boston, Bulls coach Tom
Thibodeau could tell big things were in store for Doc Rivers'
son Austin. "In Boston, he was around a lot," Thibodeau said.
"He had a lot of confidence and poise, very comfortable being on
the floor playing against pros even when he was in high school.
He's been around the pro game his whole life. I think he's going
to be a terrific player." Rivers believed Thibodeau would be a
successful head coach, and in his first two years, the Bulls
captured the top seed in the Eastern Conference. "It's funny,
before he became a head coach, my dad was always talking like
he's gonna be a great coach. It was almost like my dad and him
coached. It wasn't just my dad. Coach Tom look at their
(Boston) defense and how it went up once he got there, and look
what he's done with Chicago. I know he's gonna have a tough
defensive scheme for me and everyone else tonight." ... The
Hornets had dropped eight straight to Chicago.

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