Bulls fall to Nets, Nearing Playoff Elimination


Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) shoots past Brooklyn Nets forward Bruce Brown (1) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, May 11, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

CHICAGO (AP) — Kevin Durant had 21 points and eight assists, and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Chicago Bulls 115-107 on Tuesday night despite Zach LaVine’s 41 points.

Joe Harris added 17 points and Bruce Brown had 15 points and 10 rebounds as Brooklyn won its second straight after a four-game slide.

“That’s what we do every game,” Durant said after the Nets finished with 32 assists on 42 field goals. “That’s who we’ve been all season.”

Chicago had its three-game winning streak — and probably its postseason hopes — end.

Brooklyn, which lost guard Kyrie Irving to an apparent facial injury early in the second half, led 93-74 at the start of the final period and sat its starters for most of the period. LaVine, who had 12 points in the fourth, forced them back in by scoring eight straight to cut the lead to 102-91 with 4:54 to play.

Durant and Jeff Green each had baskets in the final few minutes to keep the Bulls from rallying all the way back.

Green added 14 points and Nicolas Claxton had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Chicago, in desperate need of a win, helped doom itself by staying under 40% from the floor until the final minutes. Coby White finished with 16 points and Nikola Vucevic added 12 points and 12 rebounds.

“Zach did all he could to carry us,” coach Billy Donovan said. “We needed that because we just didn’t have a lot of other things going.”

The Bulls fell three games behind idle Washington for the final spot in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament and will need to win their final three and hope for help from either the Wizards or Indiana to secure a berth.

Brooklyn, meanwhile, remains ahead of Milwaukee in the race for the second seed in the conference playoffs.

The Nets had a double-digit lead before the game was four minutes old and kept the margin there most of the first half before going to intermission up 64-51.

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