CHICAGO — Wednesday marked the end of the greatest winning run in the NBA this season, as the Nets were defeated by the Bulls 121-112 at the United Center.
After a dozen consecutive victory, the Nets suffered their first loss. They hadn’t lost since December 4 against the Celtics, and after a good month of victories, Brooklyn was defeated. Now, the process of returning to work to construct another string of successes commences.
Kevin Durant scored a game-high 44 points, but the Nets squandered his performance and a good opportunity to tie Boston atop the Eastern Conference standings. It was the defense’s inability to slow down the Bulls’ strong midrange game that cost them the game.
Wednesday marked the end of the greatest winning streak since the Suns’ 18-game run from the previous year.
Wednesday night, during the Nets’ loss to the Bulls, Kevin Durant scored 44 points.
The previous time the Nets played the Bulls was on November 1, Jacque Vaughn’s first game as head coach after Steve Nash was sacked. Kyrie Irving, who was embroiled in a controversy of his own making after supporting an anti-Semitic film, had a season-low four points on 2-of-12 shooting with three turnovers that night.
Wednesday, he scored 25 points, while Seth Curry contributes 22 points off the bench. After allowing Chicago to shoot 53.1% from the field and have all five starters score in double figures, it was irrelevant.
Wednesday night, Kyrie Irving drives to the basket against the Bulls.
Vaughn stated, “If you want to rewind, you must rewind and comprehend the conditions, what was happening to the organization, and where I was at the time.” “I was simply filling in that evening. I was simply fulfilling my duties as an assistant coach. That was the task assigned to me.”
Wednesday, defense was in limited supply, at least for the Nets. They allowed an absurd 73.9 percent shooting in the opening quarter, with the Bulls making four of seven 3-pointers. Only the offense powered by Durant kept them within striking distance, trailing by only 40-33 points.
Chicago’s midrange game and Nikola Vucevic’s (21 points, 13 rebounds) interior strength caused havoc for the defense. Throughout the remainder of the first quarter and early in the second, they completely collapsed.
Caris LeVert defended Kevin Durant on Wednesday, when the Bulls ended the Nets’ winning run.
Former Nets point guard Goran Dragic scored a driving layup with 3:47 remaining in the first half, causing Brooklyn to fall behind 64-46.
Durant determined to attempt to seize control. During a 13-5 run, he scored all of Brooklyn’s points, had two thefts, two blocks, and glared at the Bulls bench. However, despite allowing 57.8 percent shooting, they still trailed by 10 at halftime.
The Nets closed the gap to three points with a 26-19 third quarter.
Irving’s driving layup for the Nets’ opening six points of the second quarter brought the score to 69-65. His free throw made the score 71-68 after three minutes, and it remained the same going into the fourth.
But Brooklyn did not approach.