Chicago, IL – The streak is finally over.
Kemba Walker scored 18 points and the Charlotte Bobcats dominated the fourth quarter to end an 18-game losing skid with a 91-81 decision over the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.
The Bobcats outscored the Bulls by a 26-16 margin in the final period to notch their first victory since a double-overtime road verdict over Washington on Nov. 24. The victory was also Charlotte's eighth of the season, surpassing their entire win total during a historically bad 7-59 campaign in 2011-12.
"You go through an entire month of not winning and it eats at you, and especially for the young guys -- they need some confidence, and the best medicine is a win," said Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap.
Former Bull Ben Gordon netted six of his 15 points in the fourth quarter to help the Bobcats prevail, with Gerald Henderson contributing 16 points to the outcome.
Charlotte also used tough defense to get back into the win column, limiting the Bulls to a subpar 35.1 percent from the floor.
"We just wanted to fight more than anything," said Henderson. "I think it showed in the way we played defense."
Carlos Boozer recorded 19 points and 14 rebounds for Chicago, but made just 7- of-18 field goal attempts. Luol Deng amassed 20 points and 12 boards in the loss, the Bulls' third in four games.
Chicago battled its way out of a 12-point hole early in the second half to tie the contest at 65-65 after three quarters, but went cold in the fourth as the Bobcats bounced back.
Charlotte scored the initial 10 points of the period as the Bulls misfired on their first six shot attempts, and Chicago never got closer than eight points down the rest of the way.
The Bulls went a woeful 6-of-26 from the field and committed five turnovers in the final quarter, and fell behind by as many as 14 points after Walker's steal and layup with 1:08 to go made the score 89-75 in the Bobcats' favor.
"We just defensively didn't get stops," said Deng of allowing Charlotte to pull away.
Chicago also struggled offensively early on and the Bobcats capitalized, jumping out to a 16-7 lead midway through the first quarter following a 3- point play from Henderson. A Ramon Sessions floater around three minutes later pushed the margin to double digits at 21-11, and Charlotte owned a 28-18 advantage at period's end in large part to the Bulls shooting a poor 29.2 percent (7-of-24).
Chicago began to make some headway late in the first half, putting together an 8-2 run to cut its deficit to 44-42 with under a minute to go before intermission. Henderson then buried a jumper on the other end and made 1-of-2 free throws with 6.3 seconds showing to make it a five-point differential at the break.
Henderson led an 8-1 spurt to begin the second half as Charlotte went up 55-43 three minutes into the third quarter, and the lead was 10 until Chicago finished out the frame strong.
A Nate Robinson 3-pointer ignited an 8-2 flurry that Richard Hamilton capped with a jumper that forged a 65-65 tie as the teams entered the fourth quarter.
Charlotte avoided becoming only the fourth team since the 1986-87 season to go winless in at least 16 games in a single month. The 2011-12 Bobcats were one of those clubs, producing an 0-16 record in April of last season ... Charlotte rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist sat out the contest after scratching the cornea in his right eye during Saturday's loss to New Orleans, while Chicago was without point guard Kirk Hinrich due to a sore left knee ... Robinson started in Hinrich's place but managed just five points on 2-of-11 shooting ... Hornets forward Jeff Adrien tied a career-high with 10 rebounds in addition to scoring nine points off the bench.