Nets 86, Bulls 113: The Nets Fall Down….Again
The Brooklyn Nets fell down against the Chicago Bulls 113-96. The loss knocked them temporarily down to the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference and out of the playoffs. Much like the loss against the Bucks, the Nets fell apart in the third quarter.
Third quarters haven’t been the specialty of the Nets lately. They were only down two to the Milwaukee Bucks at halftime in their last loss, but that lead ballooned in the third. The same thing happened against the Bulls. The Bulls were able to increase a 7 point halftime lead to a 22 point lead at the end of the third quarter. It was a poor effort on both ends during the quarter. The Nets had four field goals and five turnovers in the quarter. The defense wasn’t protecting the rim, which was a theme all game, or guarding the three point line.
The Nets defense was not up to par against this revitalized Chicago Bulls team. The Chicago guards were dicing up the Nets defense with drive and kicks to open shooters or passes to an open Pau Gasol. Tom Thibodeau’s squad had 26 assists on 44 made shots. A now healthy Derrick Rose and Aaron Brooks combined for 14 assists on their own.
Interior defense hasn’t been a specialty of the Nets and that weakness was on full display. Pau Gasol had an easy 22 points and 11 rebounds against Brook Lopez, while Taj Gibso cruised to 15 points and 9 rebounds against Thad Young. The Nets had a three total blocks, two of which were by point guard Deron Williams. The Bulls were allowed to shoot 50% from the field over the course of the game. NIkola Mirotic added to the scoring with 26 points of his own on 6-11 shooting from behind the arc.
On the other side of the court, the Nets weren’t sharing the ball as much. They had 12 assists on 32 made baskets. Instead of dishing to the open man the Nets were isoing for a difficult shot or missing open shots. The Nets shot a poor 37% from the field against a stout Bulls defense. Most of the Nets starting lineup struggled from the field. Deron Williams shot 3-13, while Thad Young shot 3-11. Brook Lopez was limited to 11 shots by Taj Gibson and Pau Gasol.
Bojan Bogdanovich was the only Net that looked like he was playing for his playoff life. His 17 points on 5-11 shooting led the whole team. He was the best shooter on the Nets and it wasn’t even close. He shot 3-6 from three, which were the only threes the Nets hit all game. Bogdanovich’s minutes have been more consistent in April so these type of performances aren’t out of the ordinary. He’s going to be huge for the Nets if they make it to the playoffs.
Brooklyn Net playoff hopes are now controlled by the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers own the eighth seed with two games remaining. They have to win out against the Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies if they are going to get into the playoffs. If they lose one of those games and the Nets win against the Orlando Magic the Nets will own the eighth seed.
The Nets will play the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET. One way or another the Nets fate will be decided that night.