Kevin Durant Gave Bulls Fans Something to Be Happy About Despite Nets Destroying Chicago by 26 Points
January 12 was a big night in Chicago. Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets were in town to face the Chicago Bulls in a battle between the top-two teams in the Eastern Conference, and the United Center was packed with raging Bulls fans.
The first half was competitive, with both teams demonstrating why they are elite squads. However, the Nets pulled away in the second half behind Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving, three of the best players in the NBA. Brooklyn outscored Chicago 39-19 in the third quarter and won by a final score of 138-112.
Bulls fans were naturally down after the Nets came into the Windy City and left with a blowout win. However, Durant gave them something to be happy about.
Kevin Durant: “Bulls basketball is back”
The Bulls haven’t made the playoffs since 2017, but they are well on their way to making it this season. A two-time Finals MVP, Durant said during his postgame media session that the atmosphere at the United Center was electric for the first time in a while, and Bulls fans should be pleased their team is back to being relevant.
“You want to definitely play great against the best teams in the league for sure,” Durant said, via NBC Sports Chicago. “Especially after losing last game. We wanted to bounce back no matter who it was against. But it’s good to come in here in a tough environment and get a W. This team has been extremely (good). The crowd is starting to rally around the team, the city. You can feel it that they’re starting to understand that Chicago Bulls basketball is back. So for us to come in here and win in this fashion, it meant a lot to us.”
The Bulls are still in first place in the East and have already clinched the season series against the Nets. Some pundits believe Durant and Co. delivered a statement against Chicago with their dominating performance, but the one-time MVP disagrees with that notion.
Kevin Durant: “We’re not trying to make no statements to the league”
Durant knows how good the Nets are when they are at full strength and playing complimentary basketball, which is why he downplayed the statement aspect to the victory over the Bulls.
“We’re not trying to make no statements to the league. Who cares what they think?” Durant said. “We know what we bring to the table and this is all about us. I’m sure people were watching the game tonight.”
The Nets are 26-15 on the season. Durant is averaging 29.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists while shooting 52.0% from the field, 37.1% from beyond the arc, and 89.3% from the free-throw line. He leads the NBA in scoring and could win his fifth scoring title. However, the Texas product only cares about one thing, and that’s winning his third NBA championship.
Ironically, Durant and the Nets may see the Bulls in the 2022 Eastern Conference playoffs.
Bulls and Nets could face in ECF
If the Bulls and Nets finish as the top-two seeds in the East, they could meet in the conference finals if they take care of business in the first and second round. That would certainly be a fun seven-game series since both teams have star power in Durant, Harden, Irving, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic.
The Nets would probably be favored to beat the Bulls since they have Durant, Harden, and Irving. DeRozan and Alex Caruso are the only players on the Bulls with extensive playoff experience, while the Nets have several players who have gone on deep postseason runs.
Brooklyn fell short of its championship goal last season after losing to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals, so Durant and his teammates are undoubtedly motivated to reach their full potential this season. Meanwhile, the Bulls will be a hungry group since it will be the first time since 2017 the franchise will be in the playoffs.
Here’s to hoping that Brooklyn and Chicago meet in the conference finals and the series is competitive from start to finish.