The Bulls entered their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday afternoon with nothing to play for after being eliminated from playoff contention on Friday night. The Bulls were without Zach LaVine, who sat out dealing with knee soreness.
On the opposing side, the Brooklyn Nets came into this game with their big-three of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving all healthy and ready to play together for only the eighth time this season.
Despite the Bulls best effort, they weren’t able to pull out the victory against the Nets falling 105-91.
This game was important for many reasons. Firstly, it was important for head coach Billy Donovan to make sure his young team continued to compete until the very end, despite being eliminated from playoff contention for the fourth consecutive season. Secondly, playing against a healthy Nets team provided an opportunity for players like Patrick Williams and Coby White to continue to play strong competition and develop.
The Bulls were led by Patrick Williams who exploded for a career-high 24 points on an efficient 9-14 from the field.
This was exactly the type of game Williams needed to bring his confidence up. As Stacy King said, Williams has such a bright future ahead of him and, if he continues to trust his game and shoot with confidence, he can become the star that the entire Bulls management team envisioned him as when he was picked fourth overall.
Another important note from this game was Lauri Markkanen. He played for 30 minutes and contributed 14 points off the bench. These last games could be the last for Lauri in Chicago, so it will be interesting to see if his late play will have any impact on whether they decide to keep him around for the long run.
The Nets were led by Kyrie Irving, who scored 22 points, and was supported by Jeff Green who scored 19 points in 17 minutes of play. The Bulls struggled on the defensive end, as the Nets shot 47.1% from the field and 41.2% from the three-point line.
Despite the loss, the overall play from Patrick Williams was a bright spot in the final games of the season.
What’s On Tap Next?
After being eliminated from postseason contention, the Bulls will play their final game of the season against the Milwaukee Bucks at the United Center on Sunday. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 PM CDT and the game will air on NBC Sports Chicago.