Nets’ Offense Comes up Short in Easter Loss to Bulls

C-

Final: 04/04/2021

L 107 115

Screenshot via YES Network

The Nets did not have the hops to counter the Bulls on Easter Sunday.

In a game they trailed by as many as 18 points, the Nets fell to the Bulls 115-107 to break Chicago’s six-game losing streak. Kyrie Irving’s 24-point, 15-assist game led seven Nets in double figures as James Harden and Kevin Durant did not make the trip.

With the loss, Brooklyn falls to No. 2 in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Nets spent the majority of the game trying to play catch-up as their defense did little to contain Chicago. The Bulls shot 55.1% from the field as they out-scored the Nets 64-44 over the second and third quarters.

Brooklyn made runs and out-scored the Bulls 35-26 in the fourth quarter, but the Nets failed to get stops as the Bulls built their lead back up. The Nets took care of the ball with five assists, but Chicago turned it over just nine times after entering the game averaging a league-high 15.7 turnovers per game.

The Nets had Irving to thank to keep them in the game down the stretch as he scored 10 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, but Zach LaVine drained the dagger three following an offensive rebound that sealed the deal. A seven-point deficit quickly turned back into double digits, too little too late. 

The Nets got off to a hot start early on thanks to LaMarcus Aldrige, who scored a quick seven points in 10 minutes. From then on, though, Brooklyn struggled offensively throughout the game with 48.4% shooting from the field and 11-of-28 from three as the team missed the depth and leadership of Harden.

Chicago emerged in the second quarter thanks to a strong advantage in the paint, where it held an edge in points (54-50) and rebounds (52-41) on the afternoon. The Bulls closed the second quarter with a 16-5 run and kept up its lead thanks to logging 23 more attempts than Brooklyn at the free-throw line. 

Zach LaVine led the way for Chicago with 25 points as six Bulls reached double figures. Nikola Vucevic and Tomas Satoransky each added double-doubles. 

Something that may impact the Nets going forward: Tyler Johnson suffered a non-contact injury during the game and was ruled out with a right knee strain, while Landry Shamet seemed to tweak his ankle. While the severity of those injuries are yet to be seen, the Nets may get some good news with Kevin Durant’s potential return on Monday against the Knicks.

It is another quick turnaround for the Nets, especially as injuries continue to mount. Durant and Harden’s returns would be a welcomed sight for a Nets team anxiously awaiting the return of their three-headed monster. 

Kyrie Irving

A-

The stats: 24 PTS, 12-27 FG, 0-4 3PT, 2 REB, 15 AST, 2 STL, 1 TO, 39 MIN

Kudos to Kyrie for giving the Nets a chance.

Kyrie had a double-double by the third quarter and only grew it in the fourth. He brought his classic scoring magic to help keep the Nets within single digits down the stretch.

Brooklyn could have used some of Kyrie’s three-pointers to go down, too, but he has stepped up in recording a double-double for a third straight game. The Nets lost some momentum once Kyrie sat, and that’s where the absence of Harden truly shows its impact. 

Jeff Green

A

The stats: 21 PTS, 7-12 FG, 4-6 3PT, 3-4 FT, 1 REB, 2 AST, 25 MIN

Jeff Green had himself a game.

Uncle Jeff was attacking both inside and out, with he and Landry Shamet providing most of the firepower outside the arc. It took a bit for Green to heat up after coming off the bench for this matchup.

A 20-point game from Jeff Green was a nice boost for Brooklyn, but it still needed contributions from across the lineup. Uncle Jeff helped keep the Nets in the mix in the second half, and Brooklyn could use more of his three-point threat in the future. 

Landry Shamet

B+

The stats: 13 PTS, 4-10 FG, 3-6 3PT, 2-2 FT, 2 REB, 1 AST, 22 MIN

The Nets have loved having Landry back.

He’s picked up right where he left off pre-injury with his solid shooting, but now he may have to miss some more time. Shamet tweaked the same ankle that kept him out for a recent stretch with no update on his status post-game.

He tried to walk it off but ended up checking out for the rest of the game. Nash may opt to sit Shamet out on Monday just to be cautious, but the Nets lose a big edge if they have to be without Shamet and Johnson for an extended period. 

Joe Harris

B

The stats: 11 PTS, 5-11 FG, 1-4 3PT, 6 REB, 2 AST, 35 MIN

Joe had the headband back, but not all the buckets.

Joe was in an attacking mindset as his three-point shot struggled to fall. He supplied good energy on the boards and had good hustle plays to help keep Brooklyn going.

Still, a Joe Harris three-pointer can swing momentum at any point of a game. The Nets are at their best when Joe is getting his looks, but he did not get his to go down on Sunday. 

LaMarcus Aldridge

B+

The stats: 11 PTS, 5-10 FG, 1-1 3PT, 3 REB, 1 AST, 3 BLK, 1 TO, 26 MIN

LaMarcus had about as impactful a start as he could have had.

Kyrie did a good job finding LaMarcus for looks, which helped Aldridge score a quick seven points in the first quarter. Though he slowed down a bit after that, he helped space the floor and also showed his range with a three.

DeAndre Jordan again did not get any playing time. It will be interesting to see how long that lasts and if LaMarcus gets any rest time coming up. 

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