Game 26: Chicago Bulls (15-11) fall to Brooklyn Nets (8-20), 105-102

December 21, 2015
United Center – Chicago

 

Quick Take

Head coach Fred Hoiberg made a change in the starting lineup for Monday night’s game against the Nets, opting to start Nikola Mirotic at small forward while the typical starting three, Tony Snell earned a “DNP – Coach’s Decision.” But the lineup change didn’t really work in favor of the Bulls, as they lost their third-straight game; however, it wasn’t the lineup change that caused Chicago’s downfall.
 
The Bulls fell behind from the start: Thaddeus Young scored the first three buckets of the game to give the Nets a 6-0 lead. The Bulls scored after that off a putback from Taj Gibson. From there, the Bulls kept up their offensive pace, tying the game at 17, but they couldn’t change the score in their favor. The Nets took the lead right back thanks to a three from Joe Johnson.
 
Heading into the second quarter, the Bulls trail by seven, but opened the second quarter on a very strong note: Kirk Hinrich hit a three that would be sandwiched by two Doug McDermott 3-pointers to start off a 33-point quarter. Come halftime, the Nets were ahead just 58-55.
 
Butler and Mirotic combined for five quick points to begin the third quarter, tying the game at 60, and Derrick Rose made a 3-pointer at the 9:51 mark to give the Bulls the 63-62 lead, their first of the night. But it also ended up being their lone lead of the night.
 
Four possessions later, the Bulls fell into a scoring drought: Pau Gasol made a 19-foot jumper at the 7:48 mark of the third, and the Bulls didn’t score again until the 2:53 mark when Aaron Brooks made a three of his own. By that point, however, the Nets had 81 points to the Bulls’ 72.
 
The Nets’ lead transformed into a double-digit one that would be cut back down to six thanks to a McDermott 3-pointer, but it was too late for the Bulls. They had to resort to the foul game, and it didn’t favor them.

 

Player of the Game

Brook Lopez
Lopez led the Nets with 21 points off of 8-for-18 from the field and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. He also grabbed 12 rebounds to give himself one of two double-doubles for the game (Thaddeus Young had the other), dished out two assists, had three steals and blocks.
 
Honorable Mention
Joakim Noah had a near double-double of eight rebounds and eight assists in 16 minutes. He also added four points, but was forced to leave the game with a sprained left shoulder in the fourth quarter after getting tangled up with Brooklyn’s Andrea Bargnani.

 

Key Numbers

7-12
Neither the Bulls nor the Nets made it to the free throw line often in Monday night’s game at 13 and 14, respectively; however, the Bulls connected on just seven of their free throws while the Nets made 12. Considering both teams made 43 field goals and that the Bulls made nine 3-pointers, it’s safe to say the Bulls could have used those free throws.
 

 

Matchup of the Game Result

Pau Gasol versus Brook Lopez
Gasol nearly matched Lopez’s point total with 20 points of his own, but Lopez’s double-double of 21 and 12 bests Gasol’s 20 and nine. However, Gasol’s overall stat line (8-for-16 from the field, 4-of-6 on free throws, three assists and two blocks) puts up a good fight with Lopez’s.

 

Looking Forward

The Bulls will celebrate Christmas in Oklahoma City when they face the Oklahoma City Thunder at 1:30 p.m. central.

 

Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.

 




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