Brooklyn Nets' Jason Collins, left, defends Chicago Bulls' Taj Gibson during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, March 3, 2014, in New York. The Nets won 96-80. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) ORG XMIT: NYSW112
NEW YORK — What was amazing about the Bulls’ 96-80 loss to the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center on Monday was that it wasn’t more lopsided.
The Bulls committed 28 turnovers, a number that usually spells an even-bigger disparity than the final score indicated. This came a day after they had three turnovers, a franchise-record low, in their victory against the Knicks. That mark was one off the NBA-record low.
The Bulls’ carelessness with the ball handed the Nets 30 points off turnovers.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said that a smaller Nets lineup swarmed the post. And forward Taj Gibson said those double-teams came fast.
“The double-team was there,” Gibson said. “We’re getting that a lot lately, especially because we’re trying to get it into the post but I thought we could have done a better job of just making the easy pass. Kept trying to thread the needle with an inside bounce pass and they were just taking those away and it was frustrating all night.”
Without an elite scorer, the Bulls can’t afford to give away possessions.
The way they compensate offensively is with ball movement. Against the Knicks they passed the ball as well as they have all season. Center Joakim Noah had 14 assists. On Monday, the Bulls had 12 as a team.
Noah, who injured his ankle Sunday, said that he felt no ill effects from the injury.
“They were aggressive on the pick-and-roll,” Noah said. “We just made poor decisions with the ball. We didn’t take care of the ball. I’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the ball.”
With 6:30 left in the game the Bulls had cut the deficit to nine. But a three by point guard Deron Williams put the Nets back up by double digits for good.
And while the Bulls played solid through stretches in the fourth quarter, their poor start ultimately caused their doom. Of course, that poor start was the result of turnovers.
The Bulls committed eight first-quarter turnovers and nine more turnovers in the third. In both quarters they scored less than 20 points. Both of those quarters negated runs that otherwise may have made the game close at the end.
“There are times where you can play well, do all the things that are right and you lose in the end,” Thibodeau said. “The reasons why we were flat? I don’t know. Usually our team responds well to every challenge. I told them we’ve been playing great basketball. Things can change quickly.”