Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Jrue Holiday's 3-point play with 2.6 seconds remaining in triple overtime capped a wild thriller in which the New Orleans Pelicans outlasted the Chicago Bulls, 131-128, at United Center.
"To tell you the truth, I just wanted the game over," Holiday said.
Playing their first game without leading scorer and rebounder Anthony Davis, who fractured his left hand Sunday in New York, the Pelicans overcame the loss of the 2012 No. 1 overall pick behind big efforts from Holiday, Ryan Anderson and several others to finish off a perfect three-game road trip.
Anderson poured in a career-best 36 points and Eric Gordon added 23 for New Orleans. Holiday, who sent the game into OT with a clutch jumper with 3.9 seconds left in regulation, finished with 19 points and 12 assists.
Chicago was dealt its first home loss of the season and sixth in its last seven outings overall despite a 37-point, eight-rebound and seven-assist effort from Luol Deng. Taj Gibson delivered 26 points and 14 boards in defeat, with Mike Dunleavy recording 23 points for the Bulls.
"I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't tired out there. I was tired. A lot of guys were. Our team and their team, they had a back-to-back. We made a lot of fatigue and mental mistakes at the end," Deng said.
The Bulls appeared to be in good shape after Holiday missed an open look with New Orleans down by one and time winding down in the fourth quarter. Dunleavy, a 94.4 percent free throw shooter on the season, grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 21.1 seconds left. He missed the initial attempt, however, before making the second to put Chicago up 103-101.
Following a timeout, Holiday dribbled off a screen and hit a step-back 18- footer that extended the game.
It was Gordon's turn to hit the big shot near the end of the first OT. With the Pelicans trailing by a 109-106 count, the sharp-shooting guard fired up a clutch three in transition following a Deng miss with 10.2 seconds to go. Kirk Hinrich then misfired on a contested baseline 3-point try for Chicago as the horn sounded.
New Orleans jumped out to a 118-113 advantage early in the second extra session, with Al-Farouq Aminu netting seven points during the 9-4 spurt. However, a Deng lay-in followed by a Dunleavy triple pulled the Bulls back even with under a minute remaining in the period.
The Pelicans scored the next two baskets to go up by four, but Deng sank two free throws with 22.8 seconds showing and Anderson was called for an offensive foul to give the Bulls possession. Deng then took an inbounds feed from Hinrich and scored inside with just 4.7 seconds on the clock to forge a 122-122 tie and bring on another overtime.
Anderson buried a 3-pointer with Joakim Noah in his face to give New Orleans a 127-126 edge with 1:08 to play in the third OT. After Anthony Morrow hit 1- of-2 from the line to make it a 2-point difference with 8.5 seconds left, Noah dropped in a left-handed hook shot on the other end to knot the score once more at 128-128.
After the Pelicans called timeout, Holiday received a give from Tyreke Evans and drove into a wide-open lane. The point guard was able to finish while being hacked by Gibson, then converted the bonus shot for the game-winning points after Dunleavy's long three attempt at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
Neither side led by more than eight points in a game that was tightly contested in regulation as well. Chicago was ahead by a 60-52 margin early in the third quarter, but a 9-2 New Orleans run pulled the Pelicans within one minutes later.
Chicago took an 80-77 lead into the fourth quarter, in which both teams were within three points during the entire frame.
Anderson, who went 7-for-11 on 3-point tries, bettered his previous career high of 34 points, set at Phoenix on Nov. 23, 2012. The Pelicans are 5-1 this season when he scores 18 or more ... Noah ended with 19 points and 10 rebounds ... Jason Smith, receiving extended minutes with Davis sidelined, amassed 12 points and 14 boards for New Orleans ... Deng is averaging 27.4 points over his last five games ... Bulls forward Carlos Boozer mustered only four points in 26 1/2 minutes and did not play at all in any of the overtime periods.