The Chicago Bulls fell to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night 115-107 in what was a must-win game for the team.
The Bulls struggled for the majority of the game and entered the fourth quarter down 93-74. Despite recovering in the final frame, the Bulls were unable to mount the comeback.
Zach LaVine led the way for Chicago by exploding for 41 points, marking his fifth game this season of 40-plus points.
Despite LaVine's big game, the rest of the team struggled to score. Nikola Vucevic experienced issues from the field and ended up with only 12 points, his second-lowest point total since joining the Bulls back in March.
The lack of support surrounding LaVine made it quite challenging to compete against the Nets who were coming off a win against the Denver Nuggets. Durant led the charge for Brooklyn with 21 points and Joe Harris chipped in 17 of his own. Kyrie Irving exited the game early in the third quarter after taking an inadvertent elbow to the face.
The Bulls as a whole shot 40.6% from the field and 40.9% from the three-point line. Despite that decent shooting performance, the team's defense was lacking the entire night as the Nets shot 47.2% from the field and scored 50 points in the paint compared to the Bulls 34. This was a tough loss to swallow as it puts the Bulls on the brink of elimination.
With the loss, the Bulls' play-in odds are all but officially done and dusted. The only way they can claim an Eastern Conference play-in spot is by essentially winning the remainder of their games and hoping the Washington Wizards lose out. This scenario seems extremely unlikely as Bradley Beal is expected to return soon from injury for the Wizards.
The Bulls have a tough schedule ahead of them as they are in line to play the Raptors, Nets, and Bucks. It may be time for the Bulls to look toward the offseason after a disappointing end to their season.
What's On Tap Next?
The Bulls face the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night at the United Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 PM CT and the game will air on NBC Sports Chicago.