BROOKLYN – It might not that be that hard to look at other things about a Bulls’ game than the final score anymore since any hope of traditional success for this season has long since gone.
Balancing the result and it’s meaning for the future, frankly, has become an art for Bulls fans.
So the ending to the game against the Nets on Sunday brought the usual disappointment. The Bulls trailed most of the time, rallied back, but a late three-pointer to tie the game from Coby White barely missed, then a turnover on the final play of the game completed a 110-107 loss in Brooklyn.
This latest Bulls’ defeat came against a team that fired their coach while turning the ball over 29 times. The Nets led by as many as 12 in the final three minutes and that held up for the victory.
The record for Jim Boylen’s team now slips to 21-43 and their losing streak now hits three.
At least two of their starters, each who continued to work back into the lineup, had improved efforts during increased minutes, especially Lauri Markkanen, who rallied nicely after a bad 1-for-10 shooting performance against the Pacers.
In 26 minutes he had 16 points and hit 5-of-8 shots from the field, including 4-of-5 from the three-point line. Markkanen’s effort certainly made up for the contest against Indiana, which was one of the worst of his season, and was more like his first game back on Wednesday, when he went 6-for-10 with 13 points.
Like most of the year, consistency remains the key to getting Markkanen right before the end of the year, and he’s got 18 games left to correct that. Perhaps the forward could have made more of his day with .4 seconds left, when the Bulls had one more shot at a tie. But Thaddeus Young’s pass down the floor was off the mark and Markkanen couldn’t get it cleanly as time ran out.
Otto Porter Jr. gave the Bulls that chance with a three-pointer with under a second left, and it completed his strong effort over 25 minutes off the bench. He was 9-of-17 from the field with a team-high 23 points along with a +19 rating for the contest.
It’s his highest point total since returning to the lineup and the second time he’s reached double-digits, having scoring 18 in his return to the lineup against the Mavericks on March 2nd. Yet his performance along with Markkanen and White’s 21 points weren’t enough to produce a positive end result.