Bulls stay intact, then fall flat in loss to Nets
Arturas Karnisovas showed faith in this Bulls roster by making no moves before Thursday's trade deadline. The Bulls and Cleveland were the only two NBA teams not to make a midseason trade.
Then the Bulls took the court in Brooklyn and it was easy to see why Karnisovas didn't get any good offers. The Bulls were buried from the 3-point line and looked awful in a 116-105 loss to the short-handed Nets at the Barclay's Center.
The Nets had two new players, were missing center Nic Claxton due to an injury, but the Bulls were the team that looked like a bunch of guys who had never met. The Bulls finished with just 15 assists and couldn't hit an outside shot. They finished 5-for-25 from 3-point range, but two of those makes happened in the final minute when the outcome was decided.
Brooklyn made 17 of 44 3-pointers, creating a 36-point advantage from behind the arch.
Zach LaVine had a hot hand, scoring 38 points. Nikola Vucevic grabbed 17 rebounds, but couldn't take advantage of Claxton's absence and finished with 15 points. DeMar DeRozan returned after missing Tuesday's game with a hip injury and scored 14 points.
"We've got to stay with it," LaVine told reporters after the game. "I think they had a little more life than us. We didn't play through their runs. Obviously they got a lot more 3s than we did, we had a few turnovers late and that's all it takes."
LaVine said he didn't spend much time worrying about the trade deadline, though he was mentioned in a few rumors.
"I was fine. If something was going on I would have heard of it a day or so before or I would have talked to somebody," he said, according to bulls.com. "Rumors are rumors. I'm not worried about it. Obviously, this isn't my first trade deadline, either. I took my nap and woke up perfectly fine."
This was another day when the Bulls suffered from growing pains by their young players. Patrick Williams scored 2 points and played just 14 minutes. Coach Billy Donovan said after the game the move was not injury-related, but rather an attempt to get Coby White and Alex Caruso out there to get the offense started.
Ayo Dosunmu had been playing well lately, but finished this game with 6 points and 1 assist. White scored 11, but went 1 of 5 from 3-point range.
The Nets traded both of their high-scoring stars, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, this week. Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith, who arrived from Dallas in the Irving trade, were in uniform for the first time Thursday, though this is Dinwiddie's second stint with the Nets. After flying in from Phoenix, Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson watched from the sideline in street clothes. Dinwiddie led the Nets with 25 points.
The Bulls led 32-19 early in the second quarter, then Brooklyn rode the hot hand of Joe Harris to take the lead by halftime as Harris hit 6 of 7 3-point shots. The Bulls flipped the game in the third quarter, going from 11 down to 5 up, then fell apart in the fourth.
It remains to be seen if the Bulls can find any help on the buyout market. The Clippers are mentioned as the favorite to add Russell Westbrook, while former Clipper Reggie Jackson appears headed for Phoenix.