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Bulls vs. Nets final score: the new era begins with epic 44-point blowout of Brooklyn

10th seed, here we come?

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Chicago Bulls Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The “Pat Bev Effect” was in full effect tonight, as the Chicago native debuted to help our Bulls fire on all cylinders in a complete domination of the Brooklyn Nets tonight, their first win of their last seven games.

Billy Donovan trotted out a fresh starting five in an effort to goose the Bulls’ two-way effort and hopefully cap Chicago’s skid at six games. Donovan opted to prioritize veteran defensive savvy by shifting pups Ayo Dosunmu and Patrick Beverley to the bench, starting new addition Patrick Beverley at the point and versatile defender Alex Caruso at power forward.

The Bulls’ “Big Three” (we at BaB will never refer to them without the quotes) of DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic scored each of the Bulls’ first 17 points of the game, as the team jumped out to 11-0 and then 17-8 starts against the Brooklyn Nets. DeRozan looked solid in his first contest back for Chicago following a three-game hip injury absence.

Patrick Beverley did low-key Pat Bev stuff, chipping in useful minutes by pushing the pace, looking for Vucevic often, and pestering Brooklyn opponents on the other end. Here’s his first-ever Bulls bucket, you know, for posterity:

DeRozan closed out the team’s excellent opening frame with this heat-check buzzer-beater marvel (notice how he walks away before the shot officially goes down), pushing the Bulls to a 33-18 start.

The Bulls’ core triumvirate combined for 25 of those points, which ties their record this season for a cumulative first-quarter sum. The Bulls’ perimeter defense helped force

Throughout the end of the game’s first quarter and the top of the second, backup big Andre Drummond, getting big early minutes off the bench for Chicago, made his presence felt in the paint. Dre gobbled up offensive rebounds for easy put-backs.

He also had a terrific two-way play, snagging a swipe that resulted in a fast-break bucket:

It was, generally, what you would call a classic “Good Andre” game, as he clearly gets up to play his old club.

Near the end of the second frame, Chicago led by as much as 35 points, their biggest lead of the year. The new-look Bulls capitalized on Brooklyn’s three-point shooting woes and defensive lapses with aggressive, quick actions. All told, the Nets went just 3-of-22 from deep in the first half.

Beverley’s capable and willing three-point shooting, basically a foreign concept to this Bulls team outside of Zach LaVine, perhaps impressed/relieved Stacey King and Adam Amin a bit too much:

A desperate, flailing Nets club opted to switch to a zone defensive coverage to quell Chicago. The Bulls’ starting five responded down the stretch of the second frame with frequent passes geared towards generating easy takes in the post.

The Bulls closed the half up 34, 63-29, having outscored the Nets 30-11 (not a typo) in the second period. LaVine led the Bulls with 18 points, DeRozan contributed 13. It was handily the club’s most dominant first half performance of the season. The 29 points allowed by Chicago represents the least points the team has permitted in a first half since the Joakim Noah DPOY 2013-14 season, per Will Gottlieb of CHGO Sports.

Could Chicago actually somehow choke this away in the second quarter? Time would tell...

Chicago confirmed that it was a wrap with a terrific third quarter (that is a surprising thing to type), wherein they kept improving their advantage thanks to a 34-22 run. The Bulls led the Nets 97-51 (!) after three, effectively rendering the contest’s fourth quarter garbage time.

Our Bulls led by so much that we even got to experience Terry Taylor’s Chicago debut in garbage time!

Zach LaVine played like Classic Zach tonight, scoring 32 points while shooting 12-of-17 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. He even looked to score in the paint!

The Bulls out-rebounded the Nets 57-31, and beat Brooklyn 11-0 in fast break points.

The final margin was 131-87 Chicago, and frankly it didn’t always even feel that close. This was a terrific victory against what has generally looked like a competent-ish 34-25 Nets team post-Kevin Durant.

Five Bulls beyond Zach Attack finished in double digits. Nikola Vucevic and Drummond each finished with 13-point, 10-rebound double-doubles (although Drummond logged his in just 14 minutes). Chicago once again took way too few triples, making the exact same amount, 12, as Brooklyn, albeit across 18 fewer attempts. It hardly mattered tonight.

In 22 minutes, Beverley was a +24 for his hometown team, scoring eight points on 2-of-4 shooting (1-of-3 from deep) from the floor and 3-of-5 shooting from the charity stripe. He also pulled down five rebnounds and dished out four dimes.

So are the 27-33 Bulls en route to the 10th seed in the East now? We may be about to find out.

Chicago will next square off against the two teams ahead of it in the Eastern Conference play-in standings, the 10th-seeded Washington Wizards (28-31) and the ninth-seeded Toronto Raptors (29-31).