CHICAGO -- Something about the Hornets gives the Bulls problems. That held true Friday night at the United Center.
When it wasn't Bismack Biyombo and P.J. Washington having their way down low with rebounds and short-range shots, it was the speedy Devonte Graham drawing fouls and getting to the free-throw line.
The Bulls went on a 14-5 run early in the fourth quarter to close within two points with about six minutes left. But then calamity thwarted the rally in an 83-73 loss, their fourth in five games.
Graham, who scored a game-high 16 points, picked off Thaddeus Young's pass as Young fell to the floor. By the time Young got back on defense, Terry Rozier's 3-pointer was already through the net.
Wendell Carter Jr. lost the handle on the next possession, and Graham made the Bulls pay with a 3-pointer.
By the time Cody Zeller flushed a breakaway dunk with 16 seconds left, the Bulls were getting booed by the crowd of 18,377.
Zach LaVine and Ryan Arcidiacono led the Bulls with 12 points each, but LaVine missed 15 of 19 shots, including 7 of 8 3-pointers. Lauri Markkanen also struggled, going 4 for 12 overall and 2 for 7 on 3-point attempts. He finished with 10 points. Carter had six points and 11 rebounds.
If there was a silver lining defensively for the Bulls, it's that they stopped one phase the Hornets are pretty good at: 3-point shooting. They ranked seventh from long range heading into the game but went 2 of 18 (11.1%) in the first half and 6 of 31 (19.4%) overall.
The Bulls had their own shooting struggles, however, going 27 for 90 (30%) overall and 7 for 34 (20.6%) on 3-pointers.
The Hornets used their physicality -- Biyombo, Washington and Zeller, among others -- to dominate inside. They had a 46-36 edge in points in the paint. They also went to the free-throw line 21 times, making 17.
Both teams went cold three minutes into the third quarter, combining to miss 12 straight shots, including two layups, over a three-minute span before Carter's dunk with 5 minutes, 57 seconds left gave the crowd reason to pay attention.
The Bulls dug themselves a 14-point hole in the second quarter but clawed their way back to within 44-40 at the half. The Bulls scored 15 points in the first quarter and 10 in the third.
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