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Haunting in Brooklyn: Bulls frighten young Nets, 118-88

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

The scary thing about this year’s Halloween was the Brooklyn Nets performance.

Even scarier: we saw what pundits projected in the preseason. The Chicago Bulls (3-0) defeated the Brooklyn Nets (1-3), 118-88, in a bloodbath Monday at Barclays Center.

"They were the more aggressive team. Great experience for the young guys to get in these type of games,” said Kenny Atkinson looking for positives.

The first half was about as ugly as it gets. The Bulls had their highest scoring first quarter since 2012 with 38 points as Brooklyn trailed by 18. The Nets eventually went down by 25, while the Bulls shot 56 percent and 8-of-14 shooting from deep. Aside from Jeremy Lin, who had 14-first half points, no other Net was in double figures.

The offense was bad. The defense was worse, and progressively got worse throughout the game.

The Nets trailed by as much as 29 in the third quarter, 32 in the fourth. Playing its third game in four nights, they looked absolutely deflated. Some nights, talent just overpowers the system and tonight was one of those nights.

Through three games, the Nets have led the league in most points in the fourth quarter at 34 per game. It’s represented the fight and grit we’ve heard so much about. They scored 22 on Monday.

They were also second in the NBA with 12 3-pointers per game. Monday they were 5-of-31 and dished out only 14 assists to their 15 turnovers.

Jimmy Butler, who dropped 22 points in 27 minutes, led all Chicago scorers. Brooklyn native Taj Gibson also contributed a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds, while the Barclays Center crowd went berserk every time Dwyane Wade touched the ball.

Meanwhile, Bojan Bogdanovic (15 points) and Jeremy Lin (14 points) led the offense. Brook Lopez chipped in 13 points in a matchup against his brother, Robin. He also only had two rebounds.

“What I expect from us is that same grit, go out and just leave everything on the court,’’ Trevor Booker had said before the game. “We have a lot of new pieces together, so we’re still trying to learn each other’s ways, how a certain player might react in this situation. The defense is there right now, but it can definitely get better.”

It didn’t.

Although we’re four games into the season, there’s a little concern about Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and his role with this team. He’s been such a liability on the offensive end between turnovers and his lack of a jump shot. It’s hard to see him starting for much longer, especially for a team that’s let up over 100 points in all four contests.

You win some and you lose some. But even when the Nets lose, sometimes they win because it’s seen as a moral victory. Not tonight folks.

Next up: Wednesday vs. the Pistons in Brooklyn.