Bulls continue their losing ways, fall to Nets
John Jones - USA Today Sports

Bulls continue their losing ways, fall to Nets

by - Senior Writer -

BROOKLYN - When will this nightmare of a season come to an end for the Chicago Bulls (5-13)?

Now, amid seven losses in their last eight games, this team has sunk to the bottom third of the Eastern Conference and has seen their playoff chances fall to .01%. With every passing game and watching how much this team has struggled on the offensive end, it is amazing that they even have five wins this season, but things aren't going to get much better should they blow this up.

Facing off against the Brooklyn Nets (8-8) on Sunday, the Bulls jumped out to an early lead, which hasn't been the norm for this team all season long. However, lead or not, and despite having four players score at least 20 points for Chicago, it wasn't enough as the Bulls continued to struggle in virtually every facet of the game and fell to the Nets 118-109.

For the first time in what seems like forever, the first quarter wasn't an issue for Chicago as they started strong and put together their best first-quarter showing of the season. Having Patrick Williams drop 11 points in the first was a huge boost, as this was his first start in over three weeks. His effort in the first helped jumpstart a normally sluggish Bulls offense as Chicago held a 36-19 lead after one quarter.

Unlike the first quarters, which have been issues for this team all season, the second quarter has been one of the Bulls better quarters this season, and after racing out to a massive lead, you had to think the Bulls would be able to build on that lead. Not only was that not the case, but Chicago was flat-out terrible in the second quarter, scoring 19 points offensively but also allowing a season-high for points in a quarter with 44 as the Nets erased a massive 17-point lead after one and took an eight-point lead into the half.

Brooklyn continued to go to work in the second half, stretching their lead to nearly 20 points in the fourth as the Bulls season-long frustrations continued. Had it not been for a late fourth-quarter flurry, the Bulls would've sustained another double-digit loss, but they did manage to make things more respectable. However, a loss is a loss, and with every mounting loss, you have to wonder how long the Bulls front office can keep Billy Donovan as it is clear he has lost this team. It may be time to give Chris Finch a look, as he went 6-0 two seasons ago while filling in for Donovan during the COVID issues the Bulls had.

One of the Bulls biggest issues this season is having their big three struggle to be on the same page in one game. You saw massive improvements in this one, but with Nikola Vucevic only having six points, this team still can't get all three guys on the same level from one night to the next. Fortunately, the Bulls managed to stay competitive despite the lack of production from Vooch, as the remaining four starters not only scored in double figures but also had at least 20 points. That is the first time that has happened all season, yet this team still found a way to lose.

Putting forth one of his best games of the season was Demar DeRozan as he led all scorers with 27 points. DeRozan needed 22 points to get those 27 points but connected on 11 of those, as this was one of his better shooting nights of the season. Backing him was Zach Lavine, who was coming off his best game of the season on Friday. Sure, this wasn't anywhere close to that level, but with 20 points on a near 50% shooting performance, he did more than enough to give DeRozan support.

However, the real talk surrounds the other two Bulls starters as both stepped up when it mattered the most. That includes Coby White, who has proven to be able to run a PG position while Lonzo Ball still nurses his knee injuries. White has steadily improved each game, and with 23 points and five triples, he continues to prove he can run this offense.

On the other hand, Williams has been nothing short of a disappointment since being drafted and has been on the bench for the better part of this month. With Alex Caruso out of the lineup nursing a toe injury, Donovan had no choice but to go with Williams, and the fourth-year man delivered with 20 points on 7-9 shooting. He played with an aggressive nature that he hasn't shown much, as that was the type of game the Bulls have been hoping for all season. The problem with this was 96 of the Bulls 109 points came from their starters as their bench continues to next to nothing which is concerning.

Brooklyn may not have had the same production from their starters, but with four of them landing in double figures, they managed to keep pace with the Bulls while a major X-Factor off the bench changed the game. One of the biggest mistakes this organization has made in the past decade was letting Spencer Dinwiddie get away. Stationed in their G-League affiliate for a few seasons, the Bulls felt he had no future with this team and thus let him walk for nothing.

Since then, he has become a very good PG and led the Nets with 24 points and seven assists. He would look good in a Bulls uniform right now running the show. Joining Dinwiddie in having an excellent game was Royce O'Neale, who added 20 points of his own to go with nine rebounds. Mikal Bridges (15 points) and Cam Johnson (10 points) gave the Nets four double-digit scorers in the starting five, but that isn't where this game was lost for the Bulls.

That came from the second unit, particularly one person, as the Bulls bench was outscored 40-13 in the loss. Half of those points came from Lonnie Walker IV, who connected on six of his 10 triples and finished with 20 points. He single-handedly outscored the entire Bulls bench by himself, with Trendon Watford nearly doing the same with 11. Those two were one of the main reasons the Bulls lost, as they can't have any sort of production from their bench, no matter what the matchups are.

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