New Orleans Hornets guard Austin Rivers (25) drives to the basket against Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Greivis Vasquez scored 18 points and the New Orleans Hornets beat the Bulls 89-82 on Saturday night even though they were missing Anthony Davis.
Robin 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.
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 from there even though they were missing their prized rookie.
The No. 1 pick in the draft and a Chicago product, Davis was being examined in New Orleans with a mild concussion after taking an inadvertent elbow to the head from teammate Austin Rivers in the first half of Friday’s win over Utah.
While he recovered, coach Monty Williams unloaded.
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 this game turned out, though.
The Bulls were leading by seven late in the first half when the Hornets went on a 21-4 run that stretched into the second.
Vazquez, who hit the winning layup the previous night, nailed two 3s in the final 30 seconds to send the Hornets to the locker room with a 46-44 lead. The lead hit 10 midway through the third when Austin Rivers nailed a 21-foot fadeaway jumper to make it 58-48.
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 was.you 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.