Bill Smith/Chicago Bulls
Bulls fall to Nets 105-102
Bulls now 15-11 after 3rd straight loss
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By Sam Smith | 12.21.2015 | 9:25 p.m.
The Bulls Monday sped up their game, but they couldn’t slow down the Brooklyn Nets and lost 105-102.
The Bulls fell to 15-11 with their third consecutive loss after four straight wins. The Nets moved to 8-20 and broke a five-game losing streak.
The Bulls also suffered a loss late in the third quarter when Joakim Noah went out with a shoulder injury.
The Bulls were led by Jimmy Butler with 24 points and Pau Gasol with 20 points and nine rebounds. The Nets got 21 points and 12 rebounds from Brook Lopez and 16 points and 13 rebounds from Thaddeus Young.
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg went with his sixth different starting lineup of the season, replacing Tony Snell with Nikola Mirotic at small forward. But it was another unfortunate—if also energetic—start as the Bulls fell behind 8-2. They were playing hard and intense, but the ball doesn’t always go in. The Bulls got the defense to turn into offense with a pair of steals that led to fast break scores and tied the game at 17. But the Nets behind Thaddeus Young continued to shoot well and took a 29-22 lead after one quarter.
The Bulls shot themselves back to open the second quarter with a 11-0 run behind a pair of Doug McDermott threes. That gave the Bulls a 33-31 lead, but the Nets continued their uncanny shooting for one of the lowest scoring teams in the league, making five straight jump shots in a stretch of seven scores in eight Nets possessions for a 47-42 Brooklyn lead with 5:05 left in the first half. The Bulls pushed the ball back, taking a 50-49 lead before the Nets continuing to shoot well, even with hustling Bulls defense, led 58-55 at halftime. But the Bulls had an encouraging 11-2 halftime lead in fast break points.
It was an exchange of baskets to open the third quarter with Derrick Rose and Gasol making jump shots to try to match the Nets, shooting almost 60 percent with 6:55 left in the third quarter as the Nets led 74-69. The Bulls seemed to be almost aiming their shots as the Nets continued on an 11-0 run to take an 81-69 lead with 4:38 left in the third. The Bulls suffered a blow with 31 seconds left in the quarter when Noah went to help on an Andrea Bargnani shot and appeared to hurt his left shoulder. He left the court immediately after running with his arm hanging. The Bulls trailed 85-78 after three quarters. The Nets then pushed ahead 94-84 to start the fourth quarter before the Bulls made a run to get within 99-95 with 3:15 remaining in the game.