On Saturday night, the Nets were defeated by the Chicago Bulls by a final score of 96-85.
The Skinny: The Bulls found themselves in early foul trouble, and the Nets took full advantage, going on a 15-2 run to open an 11-point lead. Following a Tom Thibodeau timeout, Chicago found its offensive stroke and went on a 15-6 run. Brooklyn had turnovers on four-straight possessions during that run. An underhanded floater by Nate Robinson at the buzzer tied the game at 27 after one. Brook Lopez had 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting in the opening quarter.
Both benches played with good energy to keep the game close throughout most of the second quarter. But more Nets’ turnovers helped the Bulls open a 14-point lead on a 15-0 run to end the half.
The Nets did not score for nearly an eight-minute period spanning the second a third quarters. Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer were unstoppable, as Chicago was able to maintain its double-digit lead in the third. The Bulls led by 18 after three.
The fourth quarter really was just a waste of 12 minutes as the Nets were only able to close the lead to 11 in mop-up time.
High Scorers: Lopez led all scorers with 22 points on 9-of-16 from the field. For the Bulls, Noah led the way with 21 points on 10-of-13 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds for the double-double.
Key Stats: The Bulls scored 24 points off 21 Nets’ turnovers.
Who Was Hot: Boozer finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and five steals. Robinson and Jimmy Butler combined for 25 of the Bulls’ 28 bench points.
Who Was Not: Joe Johnson, Reggie Evans and Gerald Wallace accounted for 13 of the Nets 21 turnovers. Johnson and Deron Williams combined to shoot 9-of-22 from the field (2-of-9 from three-point range) for just 25 points.
Fun Fact: Andray Blatche is the only Net to appear in every game this season for Brooklyn.
Jim MancariThe Bulls are one of the best teams in the league defensively, but the Nets really killed themselves, as the turnover barrage from Friday night (20 against the Mavericks) continued with 21 in this one.
Brooklyn is now 17-21 on the season when committing 14 or more turnovers and 17-5 when turning the ball over fewer than 13 times. The 13 turnovers in the first half matched a season-high.
The Nets started the game hot, shooting 12-of-20 (60 percent) in the first quarter but shot just 20-of-52 (38 percent) for the rest of the game.
The Nets have now lost four of their last five games and have averaged just 87.8 points per game in their last seven trips to the United Center. The team has lost 12 of its last 15 games in the “Windy City.”
The victory moves the Bulls ahead of the Nets for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The Nets have just 22 games left to play this season.
Brooklyn (34-26) will have a few days off before heading down south to Charlotte to play the Bobcats Wednesday night. The 7 p.m. game will be televised on the YES Network.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.