NBA regular season

Nets tame Bulls, close in on No. 2 seed in East

Nets tame Bulls, close in on No. 2 seed in East

IN COMMAND. Nets star Kevin Durant dribbles the ball against Bulls forward Patrick Williams during the second half.

Photo by Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The game marks the first time in three months that Brooklyn's three stars of Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Kevin Durant played together

Kyrie Irving unloaded 22 points as the Brooklyn Nets got a significant contribution from their reserves and pulled away down the stretch for a 105-91 victory over the visiting Chicago Bulls on Saturday afternoon, May 15 (Sunday, May 16, Manila time) in New York.

The Nets (47-24) won their fourth straight and remained one game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks in the race for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. 

Milwaukee defeated Miami on Saturday night and holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Brooklyn.

The game marked the first time Brooklyn’s three stars of Irving, James Harden and Kevin Durant played in the same game since February 13 at Golden State. It was only the eighth time they played together this season and the trio stayed on the floor together for about 16 minutes.

Irving was the most effective of Brooklyn’s trio by scoring 20 points in the first half when the Nets shook off an early 12-point deficit. 

Durant finished with 12 on 4-of-17 from the floor while collecting 9 rebounds and 6 assists, and Harden had 5 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds in 25 minutes.

Jeff Green added 19 points as Brooklyn got 48 points from its reserves. Bruce Brown chipped in 16 points and 12 rebounds as the Nets shot 47.1% and outscored the Bulls, 105-79, after allowing the game’s first 12 points.

Chicago (30-41) was eliminated from postseason contention Friday night when the Washington Wizards beat the Cleveland Cavaliers so it held out Zach LaVine (knee soreness). 

Rookie Patrick Williams scored a career-high 24 points and former Net Thaddeus Young added 19 as the Bulls shot 34.7% and misfired on 30-of-41 three-point tries.

After Chicago’s opening 12-0 run, the Nets outscored the Bulls, 28-17, the rest of the quarter and were within 29-28. Chicago held its last lead when Javonte Green’s free throw made it 41-40 with 7:58 remaining but Brooklyn outscored the Bulls, 21-10, the rest of the half for a 61-51 lead at intermission.

Brooklyn allowed the Bulls to hang around throughout the third quarter and held a 79-71 lead into the fourth quarter. 

Chicago ripped off eight straight points to get within 85-81 on Young’s finger roll with 8:47 remaining but Jeff Green hit two three-pointers and Landry Shamet capped a 15-2 run with a triple at the 5:27 mark to make it 100-83. –