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DeMar DeRozan, shorthanded Chicago Bulls hand Brooklyn Nets ‘bad, tough loss’

NEW YORK — With DeMar DeRozan drawing James Harden and Kevin Durant with him on a drive into the paint, Lonzo Ball was on their own on the correct wing as he launched a 3, crouched in anticipation after which turned towards courtside to the followers behind him after drilling a late dagger towards the Brooklyn Nets.

Down 4 rotation gamers on account of well being and accidents, the Chicago Bulls continued their shocking begin to the season by erasing an 11-point third-quarter deficit to present the Nets a stinging 111-107 loss at Barclays Center on Saturday evening.

The Bulls (16-8) have received three straight video games and depart New York having crushed the Knicks at Madison Square Garden and the Nets at Barclays Center on this highway journey. This can also be the second time this season that the Bulls outplayed the preseason favourite to win the Eastern Conference within the fourth quarter to hand the Nets a bitter loss, clinching the season sequence between the 2 groups.

“You wish to be the very best, you bought to beat the very best,” mentioned DeRozan, who picked the Nets aside with 13 of his 29 factors within the fourth quarter. “Everybody talks about being finest however you bought to go on the market. No matter if you’re shorthanded, you wish to be the very best, you bought to go on the market and compete towards the very best.”

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The Bulls entered the sport with Javonte Green and Coby White in well being and security protocols after testing optimistic for COVID-19. With Patrick Williams (left wrist) already out, the Bulls began Alex Caruso at energy ahead, however he was later dominated out on account of a hamstring harm that was bothering him coming into the sport. Bulls coach Billy Donovan mentioned it was a medical resolution to drag Caruso and that he didn’t know the way lengthy Caruso is perhaps sidelined.

The Nets (16-7) checked out this sport as a giant take a look at for them. They have been shorthanded themselves with Joe Harris (ankle) and James Johnson (shoulder) out, to associate with Kyrie Irving, who is just not with the workforce. They have been trying to settle a rating after shedding, 118-95, in Chicago on Nov. 8 and get a high quality win over one of many prime groups within the convention.

Brooklyn led 71-60 with 6:34 left within the third and gave the impression to be in management. But that cushion was passed by the 9:28 mark within the fourth. Durant scored 9 of his 28 factors within the fourth quarter however Harden struggled along with his shot, lacking 5-of-6 photographs within the fourth. The Nets protection allowed Chicago to shoot 52.2% within the fourth quarter. Chicago additionally loved a 27-to-9 benefit in free-throw makes an attempt for the sport.

“We simply gotta go on the market and play with some power and confidence, like we wish to win,” Durant mentioned. “And perceive it is a lengthy sport, and simply follow the sport plan. It’s a nasty, it is a tough loss. … We did not make the most of being up nine-10 factors. We simply allow them to keep within the sport and we have been supposed to simply bury them.”

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Harden, who not too long ago admitted he’s having problem discovering stability between being extra of a playmaker versus when to be a scorer with Irving not enjoying, shot simply 5-of-21 general earlier than ending with 14 factors, 14 assists and 7 rebounds.

“Blame this one on me,” mentioned Harden. “I had numerous alternatives on the rim that I did not convert that might have settled this sport down.”

Durant mentioned he ought to’ve helped Harden extra by making extra photographs.

“That would’ve took stress off of him,” Durant mentioned.

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At the top, the Nets watched one other struggling shooter make the sport’s greatest shot. After Durant lower the deficit to 107-105 with a 3-pointer, DeRozan drove and drew Harden and Durant with him within the paint. DeRozan discovered Ball alone on the correct wing and the purpose guard delivered the dagger 3, simply his second of the sport. Ball completed 3-for-10 general and simply 2-for-7 from behind the arc.

Ball — who had eight factors, 9 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks towards the Nets — additionally missed 8-of-10 3-point photographs in Thursday’s win over the Knicks. But the Bulls proceed to develop chemistry and belief in each other as they moved to inside half a sport of the Nets for the lead within the East.

“It says loads about our workforce,” DeRozan mentioned of the wins towards the Knicks and Nets. “How resilient. How we method challenges. We do not shrink back from them. We settle for them.

“… It is troublesome to win on this league, particularly coming into two hostile environments on the highway, enjoying towards two groups and the very best workforce in our convention, to resist the blow that we took from them all through the entire sport, to buckle down within the fourth quarter and pull out a victory.”

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