The New Jersey Nets five-game winning streak came to an end when they lost to Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls 84-73 at the Prudential Center Thursday night. The Bulls, who now solely own the best record in the Eastern Conference and are the stingiest team in the league, allowing 90.9 points a game, held the Nets to a combined 30 points in the second and third quarters.
The Nets actually raced out to an early 10-3 lead on eight early points from Anthony Morrow, but the Bulls had claimed the lead by the end of the first quarter, 24-20 on a lay up by Rose. The Bulls would take their biggest lead of 14, 51-37, on a jumper by Rose, but the Nets would not give up. They fought back to tie the game three times in the final quarter, the last time at 69 on two free throws by Nets center Brook Lopez, but the Bulls would close the game on a 15-4 run, highlighted by six points by Kyle Korver.
Nets head coach Avery Johnson was disappointed with the loss but pleased with his team’s effort. “Defensively when you give up 84 points and make 40% from the field we think that’s a game that we’re going to win. Offensively we didn’t make any shots tonight. The ball didn’t go in for us. We had some pretty good looks and even on 30% shooting we get 22 assists, but shots just didn’t fall from two and three. But if you would have told me we would hold one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference defensively we would have taken it. I like the way we came back. We could have put our heads down but we came back, guys fought hard. We got the game tied. We just couldn’t keep it going. We kept roaring back, that’s what I like to see.”
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was very complimentary of the Nets. “I thought the Nets pressured us some and I thought we played at a pace we didn’t want to play at. Once we settled down and recognized the second pass we started making those second passes and we got high percentage shots, which opened things up. The Nets are playing very well here, you have to give them a lot of credit. The Nets are playing tough, they are executing, that’s a well coached team.”
Kris Humphries was candid as always. “We just couldn’t score points tonight. We held them to a good amount of points and we just needed to turn it up offensively, but we weren’t able to do that tonight. We played pretty good defense, but we have to play great defense the way we were scoring the ball. One of them had to get better in order to win the game.”
Lopez led the Nets with 22 points, his eighth consecutive game with 20 or more points. Humphries recorded his eighth-straight double-double, his 24th of the season, with 13 points, 16 rebounds, and a career-high tying 5 blocks. He has grabbed 15 or more rebounds in seven straight games, the first Nets player to do it since Jayson Williams from November 7, 1996, to November 23, 1996. Sasha Vujacic came off the bench to score 13 points and grab 5 rebounds.
Rose led the Bulls with 21 points, and Luol Deng added 19 points, 4 rebounds,and 3 assists. Kyle Kover scored 12 points, and Omer Asik scored 11 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds, both off the bench.
Recording artist Bow Wow and reality star Angela Simmons were among the crowd of 18,351 at the Prudential Center for the game.
The Nets head to Milwaukee to play the Bucks tonight at 8:30pm.