Nothing but Nets as Bulls can't catch up in Brooklyn

Nothing but Nets as Bulls can't catch up in Brooklyn
March 3, 2014, 9:00 pm
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Christian Arnold

NEW YORK — The Bulls could not get the sweep of the New York area teams, falling 96-80 to the Brooklyn Nets on Monday at Barclays Center.

Unlike the blowout win the Bulls had against the Knicks on Sunday, Chicago looked flat for most of Monday night’s loss to the Nets. After having just three turnovers against the Knicks the game prior, the Bulls had 28 in Brooklyn.

The Bulls found themselves in a hole early after the Nets went on an 8-0 run to start the contest. From there the Bulls had to play catch up the rest of the way.

“I thought we were flat,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We started the game, and we got in a big hole. We had to fight most of the first half.”

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Brooklyn took their biggest lead of the first quarter after Andrei Kirilenko hit a free throw with 2:36 left in the first quarter to push the Nets' advantage to 15.

The Bulls managed to cut the deficit to nine by the end of quarter and started to make a comeback in the second. With 6:57 left in the second the Bulls pulled within seven on a 3-pointer by Mike Dunleavy. D.J. Augustin hit back-to-back free throws to cut it to 41-36, and a hook shot by Joakim Noah brought the Bulls within three.

However, it was the closest the Bulls would get. Brooklyn countered with a 7-2 run in the final two minutes of the half to keep the Bulls from pulling even.

“I think they played really well tonight,” Noah said of the Nets. “They were aggressive on the pick-and-roll. We just made poor decisions with the ball ... It was definitely a let down.

“We played well yesterday, that’s the highs and lows of the NBA. It’s all part of the journey.”

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The Bulls finished the game shooting 46 percent from the field and 30 percent from behind the arc. Jimmy Butler led the Bulls starters in scoring, finishing the game with 13 points. Carlos Boozer and Noah finished with 10 points each.

Augustin, who had 16 points off the bench, thought his team had jump but also admitted they might have been flat.

“I think we were into (the game),” he told reporters. “That’s (Thibodeau's) view. He said we didn’t look like we were going as hard as we thought we were. It’s different when you are out there playing. Sometimes you think you are going harder than what you are really going. I think we went out there, and we wanted to win. We wanted to fight, but maybe we were a little flat."

The loss snapped Chicago’s four-game winning streak, as well as the streak of four consecutive games in which the Bulls scored 100 or more points. It was also the first Bulls loss to the Nets since May 2, 2013.