Feast or famine. It's the Brooklyn way.
The Nets came into Wednesday high on life. They had just won a thrilling game over the Charlotte Hornets, following a 14-point comeback that resulted in a game-winning buzzer beater by Randy Foye. The energy was high among the guys in the locker room despite the injury to Jeremy Lin.
It felt as if they finally caught a break this season...
Then, they had their hearts ripped out by Jimmy Butler and the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night.
The teams were caught in a tight one throughout, tied up at 99 apiece with under 13 seconds left. Jimmy Butler had Bojan Bogdanovic in a one-on-one situation and he knew it was time to feast. He took a few dribbles in, stepped back near the top of the key and drilled the buzzer beater to defeat the Brooklyn Nets, 101-99.
Butler scored a season-high 40 points on the night and scored 29 in the second half on 9-of-14 shooting. The infamous shot dropped the Nets to 1-15 on the road this season and killed their hopes of notching the first winning streak of the season.
And so they say, you win some and you lose some…
The talented Chicago Bulls looked lackadaisical to start the game, almost as if showing up was enough to beat the energetic and relentless Brooklyn Nets. They were wrong, and Brook Lopez was dead on. Lopez and the Nets started the game with a 9-0 run, including three 3-pointers in less than six minutes into the game.
There were seven ties and eight lead changes in the first half, but there was little question as to who was in control when Brook Lopez was on the floor. The big fella, facing off against his brother Robin, scored 19 points in the first half on a career-high four 3-pointers.
He led the Nets to a 49-46 half, an impressive first half performance considering the Nets were missing Jeremy Lin. Between Lopez’s stellar offense and the Nets’ stellar defense, things weren’t too bad.
In the words of Ian Eagle, "It has not been played at a high level, but it has been entertaining."
Neither team was able to gain a lead larger than seven in the second half. It was evenly matched, even though the Nets played better on both sides of the ball. They entered the fourth quarter with a two-point lead, as Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade kept Chicago within reach.
That’s often the problem with the Nets: they control the game, they out-work the opponent, but let them stay close enough late in the game.
The Nets rallied behind an odd sequence of events. First Wade exited the game with a migraine and then Butler tweaked his ankle. Soon thereafter, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson caught the ball while sitting on the bench and Nikola Mirotic approached him and started a little something extra.
What goes on???? pic.twitter.com/RBMR9LWd73— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) December 29, 2016
Frustration? Sure. That’s what the Nets do. Lopez just filled in the rest of the blanks.
Lopez scored his 31st point of the evening with under four minutes remaining to put Brooklyn up by seven. It was another huge bucket -- his ninth point of the quarter on a soft baby hook.
Hey, it’s the Nets, though, and they had to make this one interesting. Butler feasted when he saw Bojan Bogdanovic covering him throughout the game, and especially late in the fourth.
The game was tied at 97 apiece with 41 seconds left, Nets ball. They turned the ball over on the inbounds pass and Butler dropped in his 38th point with 27.7 seconds left. With Wade out, Butler was forced to step up late and he did. He scored 29 points in the second half.
The Nets followed up with a monstrous dunk on Robin Lopez, and this thing was knotted up at 99 apiece with 12 seconds left.
Lopez smash: tied at 99 apiece with 12.6 seconds left. pic.twitter.com/s8UV6mqWsz— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) December 29, 2016
And then, Butler happened… again.
The clock ticked down. Butler had Bogdanovic one-on-one and boy did he take advantage. Butler dribbled in, stepped back and drained a silky smooth jumper as time expired. Lopez did all he could to win the Nets this game, but 12.7 seconds is too much time for Butler.
Here’s how it went down:
And here's how it ends. Sigh pic.twitter.com/sIiAYOaARz— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) December 29, 2016
Butler finished with a season-high 40 points to go along with 11 rebounds and four steals.
Lopez finished with 33 points and four assists on a career-high 5-of-6 from 3-point range. Sean Kilpatrick chipped in 18 and Trevor Booker grabbed 14 rebounds.
Aside from, you know, Jimmy Butler, the Nets played stellar defense the entire night. They forced 18 turnovers and contained Chicago to 39.8 percent shooting, 3-of-13 from deep. Free throws became the difference maker. Chicago hit 28-of-29, while the Nets hit 12-of-16. Furthermore, the Bulls out-rebounded the Nets 55-38.
Jeremy Lin missed his 19th game of the season with a strained left hamstring. Lin re-injured the hamstring Monday against the Hornets, but Sean Marks told reporters before the game that it’s in a different area.
There is no timetable for his return. The Nets will head to Washington Friday for a matchup against the Wizards.
- Box Score - Chicago Bulls 101, Brooklyn Nets 99 - NBA.com
- Highlights: Nets vs. Bulls (Video) - NBA.com
- Lopez has a day (Video) - NBA.com
- Lopez destroys his brother (Video) - NBA.com
- Foye steals and slams (Video) - NBA.com
- Wade lays it in (Video) - NBA.com
- Gibson sends it in (Video} - NBA.com
- Lopez puts it in (Video) - NBA.com
- Rondo shows off moves (Video) - NBA.com
- Butler with the finish (Video) - NBA.com
- Lopez Hook Shot (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Lopez with Team High 33 Points (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- RHJ Breakaway Dunk (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Foye at the End of the Third (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Foye with the Dunk (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Atkinson on the team's resiliency (Video) - YES Network
- Brook Lopez has strong performance in 101-91 loss (Video) - YES Network
- Sean Kilpatrick shares his thoughts on loss to Bulls (Video) - YES Network
- Jimmy Butler's buzzer-beater sinks Nets in 101-99 loss to Bulls - AP
- Butler's buzzer-beater lifts Bulls over Nets - Reuters
- Bulls’ Jimmy Butler beats Nets at buzzer - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Nets not saying when Jeremy Lin will return from hamstring injury - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Jeremy Lin’s out, and the Nets return to ‘ensemble’ approach - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Jeremy Lin’s absence haunts Nets in last-second loss to Bulls - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets get walked off on this time, lose via Jimmy Butler buzzer-beater (Game Grades) - Benny Nadeau -The Brooklyn Game
- Brooklyn Nets vs Chicago Bulls 12/28/16 Recap and Player Grades - Matthew Pisani - Brookl-Lin
- Nets Lose to Bulls on Buzzer Beater 101-99 - Cory Wright - Brooklyn Nets
- Chicago Bulls News - K.C. Johnson - Chicago Tribune
- Jimmy Butler plays hero in carrying Bulls over the hapless Nets - Joe Cowley - Chicago Sun-Times
- Fred Hoiberg denies playing mind games with Nikola Mirotic - Joe Cowley - Chicago Sun-Times
- Jimmy Butler continues to like and make the big shot - ESPN Chicago