Bulls fall to the Nets, 124-96
Bulls drop to 27-53.
And then there were two. This unfulfilling Bulls season now has two games left with Saturday’s 124-96 Bulls loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
The Bulls and Nets now are tied at 27-53 with the teams meeting again Monday in Brooklyn. The Bulls close the 2017-18 season Wednesday in the United Center against Detroit.
For those watching the bottom of the standings, the Bulls and Nets are tied for the seventh poorest records in the NBA. If they end up tied, they would divide the number of lottery chances at that place in the standings.
The Bulls were led by Sean Kilpatrick with 20 points. Bobby Portis had 18 and eight rebounds. Justin Holiday had 15 points. Cristiano Felicio had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Jerian Grant had 13 points.
Kilpatrick scored at least 20 points for the third consecutive game and now had scored in double figures in six of his seven games with the Bulls.
The Nets in a barrage of three point shots were 24 of 55 from three-point range. The Bulls were six of 29 on threes.
Lauri Markkanen sat out because it was the second of a back to back after his back problems. The Bulls also were without Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Antonio Blakeney, Paul Zipser, Denzel Valentine and Noah Vonleh. Portis started for Markkanen along with Holiday, Felicio, David Nwaba and Cameron Payne. Robin Lopez remained active, but doubtful to play. There is much curiosity with the player draft in these late season games for the Bulls, though the Nets don’t have their pick. It has gone to Boston and then on to Cleveland in trade. The Nets took off to a 10-3 lead and then 14-5 midday through the first quarter while the Bulls had difficulty finding the range. It was Holiday with the immediate correction out of the timeout and then Portis taking over with a series of jumpers and powerful drives and 13 first quarter points on six of nine shooting. The Nets are one of those spread and shoot threes teams and got a pair to go on the way to a 28-23 lead after one quarter. The Nets continued to fire away with their threes, their offense directed toward the pull up three with the occasional passes around the perimeter to find another. When they’re going in, it looks good. The Nets stayed ahead 41-34 midway through the quarter and then shot threes on five of six possessions, making two. But with the Bulls staggering it still was enough for a 52-46 Brooklyn lead with 3:28 left in the first half and had already attempted 24 threes to eight for the Bulls. The Nets then changed up and began to go inside and in transition and at halftime had a 63-51 lead. The Nets had attempted five free throws and 27 threes. Kilpatrick continued hot for the Bulls with 10 first half points.
It unofficially became a Three Jamboree as the Nets came out in the second half even more determined with their threes. Their first five shot attempts were threes, though the Bulls matched with Payne and Felicio with a successful pick and roll and Felicio scoring three times. The Bulls trailed 72-62 three minutes into the second half when Allen Crabbe connected on a pair of threes and the Nets shot off to an 86-69 lead with five minutes left in the third quarter. Crabbe had 12 in the third. The Nets went on heading into the fourth quarter with a 96-77 lead. The Nets then hit the Bulls with eight straight points after a pair of Kilpatrick free throws to tae a 25-point lead with about 10 minutes remaining in the game.
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