CHICAGO - Excitement will be a bit fleeting this year for the Bulls, but for fans there was a little bit of it on Saturday night.
After a surprising blowout win over the Magic on Friday night, the Fred Hoiberg's team returned home and once again took control of the game against the Pelicans in the second half. In the third quarter they build a nine-point lead and still held a seven-point advantage at the end of the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, they were competitive and even held the lead heading into the last two minutes. A rare shot at a two-game winning streak was within the Bulls' grasp, but don't forget this is a team still building everything from a rotation to an identity.
Hence the team couldn't quite finish off a second-straight win on Saturday, losing the lead in the final minutes of the fourth then faltering in overtime in a 96-90 defeat to New Orleans at the United Center. It drops the Bulls to 2-6 on the season while the Pelicans evened their record at .500 with a fifth victory.
Hoiberg's group was outscored 26-19 in the fourth quarter as they were unable to hold onto the lead as they did in Orlando on Friday. New Orleans made all the right moves at the right times in that final quarter, from Anthony Davis (Game-High 26 points) from DeMarcus Cousins' tie-up of Robin Lopez's potential game-winning shot in regulation.
In the extra session, the Pelicans grabbed the lead from the start and never let it go in outscoring the Bulls 13-7 in the win.
Justin Holiday led the Bulls with 18 points with Denzel Valentine chipping in a season-high 16 points off the bench, with Lauri Markkanen and Lopez chipping in 14. It was almost enough for back-to-back wins, but that step in rebuilding will have to come another day.