Bulls beat Bobcats behind D.J. Augustin’s big 4th
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org January 25, 2014 8:47PM
Updated: February 27, 2014 6:57AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With two defensive-minded coaches who spent years together as assistants in New York and Houston, of course, it was going to be an ugly game.
It’s a good thing the Bulls and coach Tom Thibodeau specialize in ugly. Style points be damned. It’s all about the win column, then moving on to the next game.
Guard D.J. Augustin had 15 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter Saturday, and the Bulls beat coach Steve Clifford’s Charlotte Bobcats 89-87 at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Thibodeau embraced every ugly minute of it.
“As long as we come out on top, I love it,’’ Thibodeau said.
He wasn’t the only one who embraced beating the Bobcats. Augustin began his career in Charlotte before being pushed out when the Bobcats drafted Kemba Walker to be their point guard of the future. While Walker was sidelined with a left ankle sprain, Augustin was making the Bobcats regret their decision.
“It’s always fun playing against your old team,’’ Augustin said. “I know Gerald [Henderson]. I played with him for three years. And just to go back and play against those guys is always fun.’’
When asked if there was some venom behind his team-high point total, Augustin said, “Not really. It’s a business. I’m with the Bulls now, and that’s all that matters. I’m just happy to get this win.’’
The Bulls (22-21) entered the fourth leading 57-55. Put in perspective, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony scored 62 against the Bobcats on Friday.
The knockout punch seemed to be delivered early in the fourth quarter when Tony Snell made a three-pointer and Jimmy Butler put the Bulls up by seven with a slam.
Then Augustin took over. He made three three-pointers over the next four minutes to increase the lead to 12.
“Big shots,’’ Thibodeau said of Augustin in the fourth quarter. “It was a good bounce-back game for him. He got himself ready to play, was aggressive right from the start. We built up a pretty good cushion, so it was enough to get the win.’’
The Bobcats made Thibodeau sweat out the last 13 seconds, cutting a nine-point deficit to three with 3.4 seconds left. But Augustin iced the game with two free throws.
Bobcats center Al Jefferson made the game look closer with a cosmetic three-pointer at the horn.
“I just let the game come to me, and that’s what happened in the fourth quarter,’’ Augustin said. “We didn’t change anything. We just kept playing, kept running our pick-and-roll stuff, kept playing on defense, and everything came out well.’’
But playtime is just about over for the Bulls.
Starting Monday, their next seven games are against Western Conference teams, with six on the road. The Bulls have a 4-9 record against the West.
“We get knocked down, and we always get back up,’’ Augustin said. “We keep fighting. And that’s the motto of our team.’’