Rose, who hadn’t come off the bench in more than four years, shot 10-of-15— including four 3-pointers—and scored 34 points to lead the Bulls past the Hornets 109-106 Saturday night.
Rose and Crawford said they were being made scapegoats for the Bulls’ poor play in the first six games.
“I was shocked … I felt like I deserved better,” Rose said. “I shouldn’t have to go through that. This isn’t my first or second year in the league.”
Coach Bill Cartwright made the change just before tipoff. He replaced Rose with Eddie Robinson and Crawford with rookie Kirk Hinrich, who committed nine turnovers after shooting 1-for-10 the previous night in his NBA debut.
“That first group is not giving us anything,” Cartwright said before the game. “We’ll keep searching until we find a group that is going to get us out of the gate.”
Crawford was not satisfied by that explanation.
“It’s bittersweet. I’m glad we won, but to me it’s disrespect to single out us two out of five (starters),” Crawford said. “I think the writing’s on the wall for me, obviously.”
Donyell Marshall scored 22 on 10-of-13 shooting and the Bulls made 12 of 13 free throws in the fourth quarter, 20 of 24 for the game. Crawford scored 14.
The Bulls shot 59.4 percent despite hitting only two of their last 12 shots as the Hornets made a desperate comeback attempt that included a full-court press for the final four minutes.
Baron Davis scored 35 points but had a game-tying 16-foot attempt blocked by Crawford in the final minute, then missed a 3-pointer with 5 seconds left.
New Orleans had one more chance, but David Wesley’s shot in a crowd was well off the mark and time expired as the Bulls knocked the rebound out to midcourt.
“I was fouled,” Wesley said.
Davis, who led the Hornets past the Los Angeles Lakers the previous night, also had 13 assists, five steals and five 3-pointers.
“We have to play everybody like they’re the Lakers, and that’s how you have to come ready to play and if you don’t, then anybody can beat you,” Davis said.
Hinrich’s lack of experience running the offense was evident at times as the Bulls turned the ball over 25 times.
Floyd had little reaction to questions about losing to his old team, other than to say it hurts no more than the Hornets’ only other loss—to Atlanta on Monday.
Wesley finished with 18 points, while P.J. Brown had 17 points and 11 rebounds.
“This is just a bitter loss,” Brown said. “Our defense was horrible. They had a lot of open shots. It was just a mental letdown. You’ve got to beat teams like that. The Bulls—I know it’s early in the season, but all indications are that they won’t be in the playoffs. Those are teams you have to take care of.”
Davis helped the Hornets stay close during a sloppy first half with 19 points and five steals. The Bulls led 44-37 when Davis hit a 3, then stole the ball near midcourt and hit a pair of foul shots to cut New Orleans’ deficit to two. Soon after, he found Wesley with a no-look pass on the break to tie the score at 49.
A reverse layup by Marshall gave Chicago a 54-53 lead at halftime.
It was the third time in seven games that Davis scored 30 or more points. … Tyson Chandler, who had posted three double-doubles this season, was out after hurting his back crashing into the sideline stands a night earlier. … The Hornets attempted 24 3-pointers, hitting nine. … Robinsonhad a friendly greeting for Floyd, his former coach in Chicago, before tipoff.