The Brooklyn Nets visited the United Center to face the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday and lost 121-112. This was the second time these teams have matched up against each other this season and Chicago now leads the regular-season series 2-0.
For the Nets, Kevin Durant had 44 points and five assists while Kyrie Irving had 25 points (on just 10-24 shooting from the field) and eight assists. Seth Curry had 22 points and Nic Claxton had 11 points.
For the Bulls, DeMar DeRozan had 22 points and seven rebounds while Patrick Williams had 22 points and two steals. Nikola Vucevic had 21 points and Ayo Dosunmu had 17 points.
From the beginning, the Nets were unable to do much to stop the Bulls. In the first half, Chicago was able to get any shot it wanted and Brooklyn was unable to match them on offense. The Bulls ended up shooting 53.1% from the field and that was with the Nets playing better defense in the second half.
Rebounding was an issue for the Nets. Brooklyn was unable to get many offensive rebounds so they had a lot of one-and-done offensive trips that disrupted their rhythm and allowed Chicago to get out in transition. The Bulls had the momentum for most of this game and it showed with the way that they played on offense all night long.
Here are your Nets’ player grades:
Ben Simmons: C+
Simmons did not shoot much in this game, but when he decided to shoot the ball, he was effective especially driving to the basket. Simmons struggled from the free-throw line, but was aggressive enough to draw some fouls on his drives to the basket. He did a great job rebounding the ball and had a decent night facilitating the offense. Even though he had some moments of being too aggressive on defense, Simmons was impactful on that end especially when he was guarding Vucevic.
Kyrie Irving: B-
Irving struggled shooting the ball all night long. Even though he made some nice moves to get to the rim, it seems that he had issues shooting the ball, especially from three-point land. He was aggressive in getting his shots up, but it just was n’t his night. He had a great night passing the ball and he was more active than usual on the defensive end and mixing it up in the post.
Durant was incredible all night long. From the beginning, one could tell that this was a defensive game since the only Nets having good shooting games were Durant and Curry. Durant had his shot working from all over the court, even from behind the three-point line. He was aggressive in driving to the basket and drew some fouls as a result. He did well passing the ball especially once the Bulls started double-teaming him.
Royce O’Neale D
O’Neale had a rough night in this game. He wasn’t able to buy a bucket at any point and it seems that he was never comfortable shooting the ball. To his credit, he did a good job rebounding and passing the ball to the open man to make up for his lack of shot-making. O’Neale had a solid night on defense as he played a key role in the struggles of LaVine and DeRozan, but that was about it.
Claxton had a decent game overall. He did a great job of finishing at the rim and even took advantage of a few opportunities to isolate his man in the post and nail his post hooks. Claxton had a good presence on the glass and he was great on the defensive end. Claxton struggled defending Vucevic in the post, but other than that, Claxton did a great job of protecting the rim.
Joe Harris: C-
Harris had a tough time shooting the ball in this game. Despite getting some open looks, he just couldn’t get much to fall. He was solid on the boards, but defense was an issue in this game.
TJ Warren D
Warren was unable to get anything going in this game. He didn’t get many chances, but he looked unsure of what to do once the ball got in his hands and that may have been because of the Bulls’ intensity on defense. Warren did a good job rebounding, but left this game with a rib contusion.
Seth Curry: A+
Curry was incredible for the Nets in this game and Brooklyn needed every single point. He provided an early spark in this game by being able to hit some threes and work his mid-range game to keep the defenders honest. Other than scoring, Curry did a little bit of everything in this game as Jacque Vaughn tried to get as much out of him as possible.
Edmond Sumner: D+
Sumner did not play much in this game as it was clear early on that he wasn’t able to get anything going on the offensive end. For the time that he was in there, he played solid perimeter defense, but Vaughn decided to stick with the hot hand of Seth Curry.
Yuta Watanabe D
Watanabe had a frustrating night. He wasn’t able to make anything happen offensively and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t stop being called for fouls. Watanabe was on the unfortunate end of some whistles and that was the kind of night that he and most of the other Nets had in this game.