Game: Chicago Bulls @ Brooklyn Nets
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Bulls +1.5, Nets -1.5
The Chicago Bulls’ last two games followed a similar pattern. They got off to a poor start in the first quarter, took the lead, then lost in the final minutes. When the Bulls visit the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night, they are hoping to start resolving some of their first-quarter issues.
The Bulls are off to a mediocre 3-4 start after winning six of their first seven games last season; their most recent defeats came at the hands of San Antonio in Philadelphia in back-to-back games last Friday and Saturday.
Friday’s game against San Antonio ended in a 129-124 loss for the Bulls after they trailed by 14 points early on, battled a seven-point deficit, seized a nine-point lead midway through the second, and then squandered a seven-point advantage in the game’s closing minutes. A night later, at home, the Bulls got off to an even worse start as they were outscored by 15 points in the first quarter. They then had a pair of two-point leads in the fourth before losing 114-109.
In the first quarter of its seven games, Chicago has been outscored by a total of 30 points. The Bulls allowed a combined 57.4 percent shooting from the Spurs and 76ers in the first 12 minutes of their last two games. DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points to lead the Bulls, but he failed to score a single point in the fourth quarter.
The Nets finally ended a four-game losing streak last night in a 116-109 victory over the visiting Indiana Pacers. Unlike Chicago, Brooklyn got off to a great start against the Pacers avenging a 125-116 loss to Indiana on Saturday. In that game, the Nets allowed 23 3-pointers. Nets head coach Steve Nash called the team’s defensive performance a “disaster.”
Last night, the Nets controlled the game for the most part and thwarted numerous comeback attempts. They had leads of 24 at the start of the second quarter, 19 at the middle of the fourth, and went on a 16-9 run in the last 6:50 after Indiana had tied the score.
Kevin Durant scored 36 points last night and now has at least 25 points in seven straight games. After surrendering a league-worst 43.3 percent of 3-pointers entering Monday, the Nets allowed only 11 3-pointers. Kyrie Irving added 28 points, including the game-clinching basket in the final minute.
Ben Simmons missed Monday’s game for Brooklyn because of an injured left knee. Joe Harris took Simmons’ position in the starting lineup, and if Simmons is held out, Harris will probably start tonight. Simmons is listed as questionable. Zach LaVine, Coby White, and Ayo Dosunmu are all questionable for the Bulls. Lonzo Ball remains out and Andre Drummond will not play for the Bulls.
Last season, the Bulls defeated the Nets twice in three games, including a 111-107 victory in Brooklyn in December, when DeRozan scored 13 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter.
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