After two strong victories to start the 2012 season, the Chicago Bulls came out flat against the New Orleans Hornets and subsequently suffered their first loss of the year.
The Hornets, who were without No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis, jumped out to an early lead a rode the momentum for four quarters. For head coach Tom Thibodeau, writes Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago, the Bulls lacked the necessary intensity from start to finish.
"I thought the start of the game set the tone for the game. . .We were back on our heels."
Good shooting from the field had led the way in the Bulls' first two games, but it betrayed them Saturday as they shot only 33 percent. Both Carlos Boozer and Kirk Hinrich were 1-of-8 from the field, Richard Hamilton was 2-of-10 and Joakim Noah was 4-of-12. Taj Gibson, at 4-for-7, was the only Bulls player with a 50 percent field goal percentage or better.
Guard Nate Robinson was not as quick to say his team lacked energy, but he certainly was not willing to defend the team's poor performance either.
"I don't want to say we lost intensity, you just never know what's going to happen," Robinson explained. "We tried to come back. A lot of guys weren't making shots tonight. Hard to win a lot of games shooting 30 percent. We just couldn't score."
The Bulls know intensity is the key for success this season as they play without Derrick Rose. They look to rebound Tuesday at home against the Orlando Magic.