Heading into a critical matchup with the Brooklyn Nets at home at the United Center on the night of Jan. 12, second-year head coach Billy Donovan and the Chicago Bulls were in a spot to take a firmer grasp of the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings. It looked like the Bulls had an opportunity to really solidify their contender status and stop atop the Eastern Conference standings against the Nets on Jan. 12.
Yet, a Nets team that really had their big three back and playing well together for the first time this season dominated the Bulls in this game. Really once the second half got underway, the Bulls started to fall behind. There was a bit of the second half (mostly at the beginning of the third quarter) where the Bulls remained competitive.
Chicago Bulls clearly missing some of their injured players after loss to the Nets
But that quickly faded when the Nets started to dominate in the latter stages of the third quarter. There was a point in time where the Bulls went on a 38-7 run between the third and fourth quarters, completely ruining any shot for the Bulls to keep this game close.
Two problems were exposed for the Bulls in this game. The first was how bad they match up with the Nets in certain respects. It didn’t look like the Bulls had much of any advantage against a Nets team that finally had their big three playing together this season.
And the second was the fact that some of the injuries for the Bulls of late are really hampering their ability on the defensive end of the floor. Here’s a look into three of the most detrimental injury absences for the Bulls in January.