The Brooklyn Nets , which played for the fourth time in five days, took a two game winning streak into the United Center last night to play the Chicago Bulls, winners of their last five of six games, and lost 83-82 in heartbreaking fashion.
The Nets just came off an emotional double overtime win at home against the Detroit Pistons on Friday night with a game winning shot at the buzzer by Joe Johnson. The Nets played a ton of minutes in that game and it was thought they would come out a bit sluggish against the well rested Bulls but that was not the case.
Brook Lopez came out scored the Nets first six points of the game and Deron Williams (24pts, 5asts, 4 turnovers) looked quick and ready in the first quarter and scored 11 of the Nets’ first 17 points, including three 3-pointers in the quarter. The Nets led after one 24-23 and it looked to be a Williams day as he was hitting while penetrating and also getting both of the Bulls point guards in foul trouble quickly.
The Bulls hung around even after the rookie Marquis Teague had to come in and try to handle one of the most most explosive point guards in the league with Nate Robinson getting into foul trouble early. The Nets tried to take advantage of this scenario but the Bulls overall team defense stepped up and gave plenty of help for the rookie and led 46-41 at half.
The Nets came out after halftime and went toe-to-toe with the Bulls in the third quarter with plenty of lead changes and physicality to show for it. Johnson was on fire to start the final quarter and scored seven of the first nine Nets points and start a 13-2 run which gave Brooklyn a six-point lead, its largest of the game, with four minutes to go in the game.
The game was tight down the stretch and turnovers told the story of the game.
Joakim Noah (12pts, 10rebs, 5asts) helped force a key turnover in the final minute when he double-teamed Johnson with Luol Deng. Johnson turned it over, rather than calling time-out, for his game high sixth turnover and Deng turned the mistake into a basket on the other end that tied it the game at 79.
On the ensuing possession Lopez was slow to rotate and allowed Marco Belinelli to cruise into the lane to give the Bulls a two point lead 81-79 with seconds left.
Williams got the ball in the final seconds with a chance to tie while Teague played tough defense and forced him into a pull-up jumper from the top of the key and it hit front rim and Chicago grabbed the rebound and finished the rally for an 83-82 win over the Nets at home
”They surprised us with a couple of double teams,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said. ”Had we done a better job of taking care of the ball, especially down the stretch, we could have come out on the winning end.”
Game was lost for one reason and that was Brooklyn’s 18 turnovers.
KEY STATS: Brooklyn’s Lopez had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Brooklyn in 25 limited minutes. The Bulls Belinelli scored 19 points and made all five of his free throw attempts and went two for three from 3-point range.
John Paolantonio is a Featured Columnist for RantSports.com, covering the Brooklyn Nets. Follow John on twitter @pingshoops and like his page on FaceBook for all of his latest articles, thoughts, and rants.