Chicago Bulls vs. New Jersey Nets: Derrick Rose Outduels Deron Williams

Jim MancariCorrespondent IMarch 17, 2011

Derrick Rose scored 21 points.
Derrick Rose scored 21 points.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I guess all good things must come to an end.

Despite a valiant fourth quarter comeback, the New Jersey Nets lost an 84-73 contest to the Chicago Bulls at the Prudential Center in Newark. It might have been their green jerseys—or in Joakim Noah’s case, green shoes—that allowed St. Patrick to favor Chicago in this one.

With a season-low 73 points, the Nets’ five game winning streak comes to an end, while the Bulls have now won eight in a row and sit atop of the Eastern Conference standings.

In a battle between two elite point guards, Derrick Rose stepped up and scored 21 points. Deron Williams managed 11 assists for the Nets but only scored five points on 1-of-12 shooting.

The Bulls looked like they would run away with this game early. A 12-2 Chicago run closed out the first quarter and the Bulls led by seven at the half.

Chicago led by as many as 14 in the third quarter, but that did not stop the Nets from fighting back.

Travis Outlaw and Sasha Vujacic opened the fourth quarter with big baskets to close the deficit. New Jersey came all the way back to tie the game at 65 with just over five minutes remaining.

Back-and-forth lead changes and ties ensued down to the final minutes. However, the Bulls went on a 7-0 run capped off by a three-pointer by Kyle Korver that drove the final nail into the Nets’ coffin.

With Carlos Boozer still out with an injury and Noah limited due to flu-like symptoms, Chicago center Omer Asik picked up the slack on the boards. He recorded a double-double with 11 points and 16 rebounds as well as a few emphatic dunks.

Luol Deng added 19 points in the Bulls’ victory.

Brook Lopez led the Nets with 22 points. Kris Humphries recorded another double-double with 13 points and 16 rebounds.

The Nets play their second of back-to-back games Friday night in Milwaukee against the Bucks. The Bucks are one of the teams the Nets will need to catch if New Jersey pulls off an improbable playoff run.