NEW ORLEANS – It was his first game against his former club that traded him in March after a very interesting three-and-a-half seasons.
A preseason fight with Bobby Portis started things off bad about a year ago, and even when Nikola Mirotic started playing well for the Bulls, the goal was still to trade the forward away. In the end, the Pelicans got what they wanted – a solid scorer that benefitted from a fresh start – while the Bulls got a needed first round pick for their rebuild.
Yet Wednesday figured to be a game for Mirotic to send a message to his former team. The forward came in averaging just under 22 points per game, and with the Bulls struggling on defense, it figured to be a big night for “Niko.”
In the end, he had an average night. But a native of Chicago had no issue putting up a big night against his hometown team.
Anthony Davis went for 32 points against the Bulls Wednesday night at Smoothie King Arena- his second highest of total of the season – as New Orleans held a steady lead throughout in 107-98 victory. It halts the Pelicans’ six-game losing streak while the Bulls failed to get back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
As for Mirotic, he got the job done on the boards picking up a team-high 15 rebounds, but he scored just nine points on 4-for-14 shooting from the field. One of the forward’s jumpers, however, did give the Pelicans a 12-point first half lead with 5:48 to go in the second quarter. Davis’ dunk with just over five minutes to go in the third quarter pushed the lead to a game-high 18 points, but the Bulls were able to chip away.
Jabari Parker (20 points) got a layup with 3:35 left to get the lead all the way down to six. But Zach LaVine (Team-high 22 points) and the offense couldn’t keep pace with the Pelicans the rest of the way as the Chicago native helped defeat his hometown team more than the guy who called it home for a few years.