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10 observations: Nets sweep season series from Bulls

10 observations: Nets sweep season series from Bulls

10 observations: Nets sweep season series from Bulls originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

NEW YORK — The Chicago Bulls came out flat for the second time in three games and fell 125-108 to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night at Barclays Center.

“We’re getting down to the point where it’s one and done,” DeMar DeRozan said. “We gotta treat these games like that. We can’t just expect to get to a play-in game and say, ‘Let’s respond like we’ve been doing against good teams all year. We gotta make sure we’re trending in the right direction and not let games like this slip away.”

Here are 10 observations:

—The Nets swept the three-game season series. The loss dropped the Bulls’ lead for the East’s ninth seed and a home play-in game to just a half-game over the Atlanta Hawks. Those teams play Monday at the United Center. The Bulls already hold the tiebreaker over the Hawks.

“This game is over and done with,” DeRozan said. “Use the frustration for any type of motivation to understand not to drop (to 10th) and get back to just playing basketball they way we know how to play basketball, competing at both ends.”

Last season, the Bulls had to play two road play-in games and are trying to avoid the same path this season.

“Our guys are very much aware of that,” coach Billy Donovan said. “The guys have even messaged it at maybe 12 games remaining. Guys were (made) aware of the importance of finishing strong, doing all those things. Obviously to be able to move up past that would be challenging. There’s a chance we can move below where we’re at, so the guys understand that. You get a home game and then obviously you would travel and have to go on the road, so our guys understand that.”

—Brooklyn already held the opponent season-high for made 3-pointers with 25 in their Nov. 26, 2023, home victory. They tied that with 25 more on Friday, including seven each from Dennis Schroder and Mikal Bridges. Cam Thomas, who led the Nets with 28 points, sank five. The Nets outscored the Bulls by 48 points from 3-point range and shot a ridiculous 25-for-44 for 56.8 percent.

“They hit tough shots,” DeRozan said. “We gotta give them credit. They caught a rhythm. It’s hard to guard any team that catches a rhythm and has no conscience just coming down pulling. There were a lot of shots they were just coming down in transition and shooting. It seemed like we couldn’t get anything going offensively. We kept fighting, but…

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