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Nets make statement with dominant win over Bulls – NBC Chicago

10 observations: Nets make statement with Bulls rout that originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Wednesday night’s marquee game between the Chicago Bulls and the Brooklyn Nets started off with the atmospheric feel of a playoff game, which suits the Eastern Conference top two seeds.

It ended with the Bulls second-biggest defeat margin of the season.

“We got our ass kicked tonight,” said DeMar DeRozan.

“We had a whooping cough,” admitted Zach LaVine.

Indeed, the Nets ran an avalanche from a third quarter to a 138-112 victory, and made quite a statement in the process.

Here are 10 remarks:

1. Thirty-six seconds into the game, Derrick Jones Jr. landed awkwardly on his right leg while attempting a jump pass to LaVine in transition, then collapsed to the ground in obvious pain. Jones Jr. was eventually helped by several Bulls staff (while not putting much weight on his right leg) and minutes later he was ruled out with a right knee injury.

Alfonzo McKinnie stepped in and immediately took on Kevin Durant’s defensive mission. He scored a 3-point corner in the first quarter and generated a handful of extra possessions on the offensive glass in the third, but also committed five fouls as the game progressed.

“He (McKinnie) was in a tough spot tonight, and it wasn’t just defensive. He really didn’t play a lot of four (powerful forward) for us, ”Donovan said, later noting his aggressive contributions to third. “He’s going to have to learn to play there with the rest of the group.”

2. The Nets were leading 38-31 after a first quarter that saw a number of game highlights from both sides. Basketball was a lot of fun.

But Brooklyn found an advantage on the free throw line, where they shot 9-12 in the first frame, shooting eight fouls for the Bulls. Worse: Ayo Dosunmu (with three games) and Coby White (with two) both found themselves struggling in the first quarter. Troy Brown Jr. (three) was not far behind them at the start of the second. McKinnie landed his fourth at the start of the third and fifth before the start of the fourth.

All difficult developments given the absence of Green and Caruso, as well as the early exit of Jones Jr. The Nets shot 28 free throws at the end of the game.

3. Another difficult development: The Bulls are reverting to their 3-point shooting methods. James Harden took two three-stroke faults in the first half – and scored another 3-point pullback – with White and Brown Jr. being the culprits.

Even beyond his eight free throw attempts, Harden was an isolated clash nightmare and faced Durant’s doubles teams, scoring 25 points and providing 16 assists. He lingered in the game until the 6:14 mark of the fourth quarter – and the Nets were up 35 points.

4. The Bulls were nine points behind early in the second, but trailed behind a sublime shot from their main scoring duo – at halftime, LaVine (17 points, 6 for 9) and DeRozan (15 points, 6 for -11) had more than half the team’s points.

A seven-point push from LaVine late in the second quarter – which included a contact layup, a steal and two backward jump shots – brought the hosts down to 62-60 at the break.

5. But the match started in a hurry in the third quarter. The Nets won that period 39-19 – and ran a 21-4 streak in their final six minutes – to lead 101-79 early in the fourth. Brooklyn shot 12 for 18 during the period (5 for 9 from the 3-point range, 10 for 11 from the free throw line), while keeping the Bulls at 30.4 percent shots and six turnovers at the other end.

Those six minutes completely sucked the life out of what, from pre-game to half-time, was an electric atmosphere at United Center.

A 7-0 run in the opening 74 seconds of the fourth – meaning a 108-79 advantage – resulted in a frustrated time-out for Billy Donovan. After that, the Nets scored six more points before a LaVine layup gave the Bulls their first points of the fourth quarter – and briefly interrupted a 33-4 run in Brooklyn.

At the end of the night, the 26-point loss tied the Bulls’ second-biggest of the season.

6. Durant was masterful throughout, finishing with 27 points (7 for 10 shots, 10 for 11 on free throws) and nine assists. Without the staff to match him 1-on-1 – although McKinnie and Lonzo Ball did what they could – the Bulls regularly teamed him up in doubles, and he always made correct pass readings to get the effective offensive of the Nets.

Additionally, he (3-for-4), Harden (5-for-8) and Patty Mills (6-for-8) combined to shoot 14-for-20 from 3 points, making up the majority of Nets’ Scorching long-range shot of 17 for 32.

seven. The Nets also reversed the identity of the Bulls, dominating the game against the fastbreak (19-9) and turnover by scoring 28 points on 17 gifts from the Bulls – 13 in the second half alone.

With the exception of a few early highlights, the Bulls were largely unable to embark on the full-fledged transition, especially with the Nets shooting a whopping 56.3%. This allowed the visitors to defend the majority of the Bulls’ offensive possessions.

8. Donovan after the game felt that the Bulls allowed too many “easy baskets”. And it’s true: between quick braking points (19), second chance points (14) and free throws (23), Brooklyn scored 56 points that Donovan considered the Bulls, in his words, to be in control. .

“When you want to play late in the playoffs,” Donovan said, “the easy baskets are the most valuable thing you can get. Our transition defense has given up on the easy baskets. We have given up on the transition 3s, the lay-up. Second chance points. We fouled. Those are the easiest points you can give. “

Donovan refuted the idea that these gaps are rooted in poor effort, instead pointing to the need for better focus and consistency on the defensive side, something he has been emphasizing for weeks because that side of the ball has experienced some slippage.

“It can be something that can be good for our guys,” Donovan said. “I’m hopeful. Because it’s only a game, whether you lost by one or thirty.”

9. Donovan declined to attribute any of the above to the Bulls’ missing defensive players. None of them would have compensated for the Nets attack in the second half.

“When people talk about Javonte, and maybe talk about Alex, and I don’t know where Derrick’s situation is right now,” Donovan said. “It has nothing to do with hindsight in transition, blocking, not fault. It has nothing to do with these guys.”

Still, their energy is something the Bulls are looking for.

“The heart and soul of the team that we kind of rely on to deliver that great advantage, especially defensively,” DeRozan said of Caruso and Green. “We didn’t have (that). We kind of feed off these guys. So once we get them back I’m pretty sure we’ll be where we left off.”

ten. The Bulls maintain a 1.5-game lead over Brooklyn for the East seed and have already won the series of the season with a 2-1 record. However, this one leaves a bitter taste.

“We knew they were going to come in and try to recover,” DeRozan said. “Now it’s a question of how we react to this. “

“We have and we had a chip on our shoulder,” added LaVine. “We can use that as fuel to get back with that advantage.

Next Up: A chance to do just that against the Western Conference leaders Golden State Warriors on Friday. Even without Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, another daunting task.

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Nets make statement with dominant win over Bulls – NBC Chicago

NBC Chicago

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