The Hornets should be glad that their season-long five-game road trip is over. They lost three of the five after finishing the trip with an 85-77 loss at Chicago on Monday.
They also hope to get healthier after seeing three starters injured during the course of the trip. All-Star point guard Chris Paul missed Monday's game, the first game he has missed this season, because of a concussion sustained in a victory at Cleveland on Sunday. He'll be evaluated in New Orleans.
Small forward Trevor Ariza missed the last three games of the trip because of a groin strain and he's day-to-day. Power forward David West played the last two games after missing almost the entire game at Memphis on Friday after spraining his left ankle.
Considering the injuries, the fact that the Hornets lost the first two games on the trip, and the way they hung with the red-hot Bulls without Paul, the outcome of the trip isn't as bad as the record might suggest.
"Hard to fault our guys when they play that way, off of a back-to-back and not having Chris and Trevor," coach Monty Williams said.
After playing four of the five games against teams from the Eastern Conference, the Hornets (37-29) will play 14 of their last 16 games against teams from the West. They begin a five-game homestand, their longest of the season, when they meet the Mavericks on Wednesday night.
The Hornets, who don't play another road game until March 24, play 11 of their remaining 16 games in the New Orleans Arena.
BULLS 85, HORNETS 77: Playing without Paul, the Hornets could not find any offensive rhythm down the stretch. After tying the score at 77 on Jarrett Jack's lay-up with 3:18 left, the Hornets couldn't score again. Joakim Noah's put-back gave the Bulls the lead with three minutes left and after that Chicago made six consecutive free throws to finish the scoring. The Hornets failed on their last seven possessions as David West missed two shots and committed a turnover, Jack missed a shot and committed a turnover, and Marco Belinelli and Willie Green each missed a shot.
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