NEW YORK — One day can really make a difference in the NBA.
Less than 24 hours after beating up on the Knicks, the Bulls' stellar play was brought to a halt thanks to New York's other team. The Nets forced the Bulls to turn the ball over a season-high 28 times.
“They were pretty much pressuring us as soon as we got the ball,” D.J. Augustin said after the loss. “They were up into us. They kind of had us on our heels and caused a lot of turnovers. We were kind of careless tonight with the ball, and that pretty much killed us.”
The Nets scored 30 points off those 28 turnovers. “If we would have cut that down, we would have probably won the game,” Augustin added.
Brooklyn seemed to get into the Bulls' passing lanes all night and prevent them from gaining too much momentum.
“They play kind of similar to us,” Taj Gibson said of the Nets. “How we’re frustrating on defense and how we get our hands in there. No bounce passes and no easy layups. They just play physical and aggressive basketball.”
The flat performance was especially surprising following Sunday’s dominant performance against the Knicks. The Bulls did not come out with same energy level as they did Sunday, and they knew it afterwards.
“The energy was a bit different,” Gibson said. “No game is easy, especially after a quick turnaround, but ... it’s really going to be hard to play against a solid veteran team with All Stars that are use to playing at their highest peak all the time.”
Joakim Noah added: “Obviously, the energy level was part of it, but you've got to give credit where credit is due. They played harder than us tonight, and we turned the ball over way too many times. When you turn the ball over that many times you’re not going to put yourself in a position to win. Our mentality was different, we can make excuses, but that’s not us.”
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau understands that nights like Monday will happen, but it will be about learning from it going forward.
“There are times you can play well, do all the things that are right, and lose at the end,” he explained. “The reasons we were flat? I don’t know. Usually our team responds pretty well to every challenge. I told them I thought we were playing great basketball. I think things can change quickly. The important thing is we’re going to study this one, make our corrections and get ready for the next one.
“Sometimes you’re not going to play great. You don’t play great, you have to bounce back and get the next one.”