Nets Fall to Bulls 118-88

The Brooklyn Nets are going to have chalk up Monday’s 118-88 loss to the Chicago Bulls as a learning experience.

On a night where they didn’t have their touch – shooting 34.4% – they ran into a veteran team who was red hot from everywhere, shooting 50.6% and put them in a big hole early. Sometimes it happens in basketball.

“There’s lots we can take away from this game,” said Brook Lopez, who had 13 points and a pair of rebounds, said. “It’s absolutely unfortunate, we took a couple of steps back, but it’s one game at the end of the day, we have to learn what we can from it.”

Bojan Bogdanovic led the Nets with 15 points (5-of-11), while Jeremy Lin had 14 points (6-of-10) and a team-high four assists. Trevor Booker and Luis Scola each had a team-high eight rebounds.

The Nets got off to a tough start on Monday, shooting 37.5% (18-of-48) in the first half, trailing 65-44 at halftime. The Bulls did significant damage in the first quarter, outscoring the Nets 38-20 in the opening period, with Jimmy Butler scoring 13 of his game-high 22 points on 5-of-5 shooting.

“There’s no excuse,” Lopez said. “Our first group needs to come out with the right intensity, the right energy and we were just flat. Especially defensively, 40 points in the first quarter is unacceptable.”

Coach Kenny Atkinson said Chicago was the more aggressive team on Monday, pressuring the Nets offense. The Nets struggled to finish in the paint, going 25-of-55, and the Bulls had the better of the fast-break points, outscoring the Nets 24-14 in that category.

“They were the more aggressive team,” Atkinson said. “I thought they really came out and got into us. For some reason we were back on our heels a bit and they took advantage of that. Give them credit, I thought they played really well.”

Behind Butler, the Bulls got double-digit contributions from Nikola Mirotic (16 points), Isaiah Canaan (15) and Doug McDermott (12) off the bench. Taj Gibson had 14 points and 11 boards, while Rajon Rondo (12 points) and Dwayne Wade (10) each had four assists.

“I don’t think any unit brought energy tonight and it starts with the first unit,” Lin said. “We just need to fix that Wednesday night. You know, if you lose by 30 or you lose by one, it’s all the same.”

The Nets return to action on Wednesday night when they host the Detroit Pistons at Barclays Center. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m. Find Tickets