After another trade deadline of not making any moves, the pressure was on the Chicago Bulls to perform on National TV against a Brooklyn Nets team who arguably had the most chaotic week of any in the NBA. By the time the final buzzer ended, it finished with a score 116-105 Brooklyn as the Bulls lost their second straight on the road.
Things looked bright at the beginning with Chicago racing out to an early lead but Brooklyn struck back in the second quarter to go up three at halftime. The Bulls came out energized after the break and thanks to scorching shooting from Zach LaVine were able to re-take the lead heading into the fourth as Zach had 32 entering the final period.
Step back on 'em Zach! @ZachLaVine | #BullsNation pic.twitter.com/lbyfFzPEq4— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) February 10, 2023
Then, just like in Memphis, Chicago absolutely capitulated in the final 12 minutes. They were outscored 37-21 as Brooklyn snatched the lead and never looked back. By the time there was five minutes in the game, it was a double digit deficit for Chicago. LaVine yet again turned in another tough to watch performance in the fourth quarter as he started to force things offensively and it kept spiraling. He had 3 turnovers to just 6 points (mostly after already too far behind and to late).
Chicago’s offensive box score looks as you would come to expect, and with no changes coming this is just how it’s going to be Their ability to stretch the floor was non-existent. They hit only five of their 26 three-point attempts which included a stretch where they missed their first eleven tries. The Bulls finished with just 15 attempts on 42 made baskets and narrowly lost the rebounding battle 49-46. They committed 12 turnovers as well.
Nikola Vucevic grabbed 17 rebounds and scored 15 points, making most of his shots inside the arc but struggled shooting the three, going just one of six. DeRozan scored just fourteen points in his return from a one-game injury absence, hitting six of his 13 attempts from the field. It was an uncharacteristic shooting night from the line as well with three missed free throws. He did add six assists and a block.
Interestingly, Patrick Williams played just 14 minutes, including none after the eight minute mark of the third quarter. There was speculation about his health, but Billy Donovan confirmed post game that Williams was alright, which now raises questions about his spot in the rotation.
Coby White led the bench in scoring with 11 points including four rebounds. Alex Caruso played 30 minutes, finishing with six points, seven rebounds, and two assists.
Brooklyn was led by the 25 of newly acquired Spencer Dinwiddie and the 20 of Cam Thomas, who continues to score in bunches. Joe Harris hit six shots from three-point land off the bench helping the Nets to shoot nearly 40 percent from three.
Guarding movement shooters is a lot different than guarding guys in on-ball isolation, as Patrick Williams is finding out.— Mark K (@mkhoops) February 10, 2023
Gives up two-straight clean looks to Joe Harris, who broke free way too easily here.
Billy calls time after the second. pic.twitter.com/lMv8tfdALR
This loss was another one which encapsulates Chicago’s season in a nutshell. Moments of brilliance followed by pure disaster. Inconsistency has plagued this team over and over and it leads to games like this. But with the way they are playing now, they look like a team whose ceiling is the first round and that’s it. And they’re running out of opportunities to grab as many wins as they can in order to improve playoff positioning.
It’s one more game this week for Chicago and it’s on the road again against the only other team int he league not to make a trade this season, the Cleveland Cavaliers.