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Nets Fail to hit a Three, Fall 115-100 to Bulls in Season Opener

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

It's GREAT to be back, no matter the expectations placed on the Nets this season. And it's even greater that the games finally count.

Although, it didn't start off the way the Nets hoped.

They battled, and played much better than most imagined, but still fell short to the Chicago Bulls, 115 - 100. They missed all nine three-pointers they attempted. The last time they went without a three? Opening night in the 12-70 season. Lets hope that's not an omen...

The Bulls on the other hand shot 14-of-28 (50%) from three.

The Nets failed to get out on three-point shooters quick enough, similar to last season when they allowed teams to shoot 35.8% from three, which ranked eighth worst in the NBA and third worst in the East.

Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 24 points and six assists.

Brooklyn struggled to play a complete game. They fell flat in the first quarter, trailing by double digits after the first 12 minutes, but answered with a 36-point outburst in the 2nd quarter. They scored on 15 of 17 possessions at their hottest of points to cut the deficit to three by the end of the half.

The 36 points were the most the Nets have scored in a quarter vs. Chicago dating back to 2009. It was also their highest scoring quarter ever on an Opening Night.

Still, they couldn't capitalize.

The Bulls started the third quarter on a 10-2 run, which eventually put them up 15 by the end of the third quarter. They were outscored 28-16 in the quarter after the Nets shot 6-of-31 from the field.

The Nets, like the 2nd quarter, made a run that wasn't quite enough. They cut it down to six with with 3:41 remaining, but the Bulls ran away with it anytime the Nets looked to peak their heads closer. Nikola Mirotic hit the dagger to put Chicago up 10 with 2:55 remaining.

Brook Lopez led the Nets with 26 points, 7 rebounds and 1 blocked shot.

The Nets won in almost every statistical category, but shooting ultimately lost them the game. Even on a second night of a back-to-back, the Bulls still managed to shoot 54% from the field. The Nets? 42%.

Andrea Bargnani had a big night in his Nets debut off the bench. He scored 17 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in 22 minutes. As a matter of fact, he was a +2 in this game!

There was plenty to be positive about. Like, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson for example! He was a complete hound on the defensive end, swiping for any loose balls that came his way. As John Schumann noted, he's got Kawhi-like defensive skills.

Lionel Hollis couldn't get comfortable with any of his "set" point-guards with Jarrett Jack out. Shane Larkin dished out eight assists, but didn't control the tempo as smoothly as they would've liked. Instead, mashed-up lineups with Markel Brown and Joe Johnson (10 points, 10 rebounds) in the backcourt worked very nicely for the Nets.

"It wasn’t pretty," Hollins said. "We showed some good things, just not enough consistency with those good things."

"The second unit was great for us," Lopez said. "They came in twice and saved the game for us with their energy and effort."

It could've been better, but it also could've been much, much worse.  The game featured a full complement of Russian ownership types: Mikhail Prokhorov, the principal owner: Dmitry Razumov, the chairman of the board; Sergey Kuschenko, a member of the Nets board and commissioner of the Russian basketball league, and of course, Irina Pavlova, president of ONEXIM Sports and Entertainment.

For postgame quotes, check out our "LISTEN UP!" feature here.

The Nets will face the San Antonio Spurs this Friday.

For more on the Chicago Bulls, check them out at Blog a Bull.