Around the Association: Bulls Cool Down Brooklyn, Zion’s Revenge Tour Hits a Speed Bump, Hornets Lose Oubre, More

I try to keep the Bulls out of these ATAs because Eli does such an excellent job of covering them daily, but I would be remiss to exclude the Bulls snapping the Brooklyn Nets’ 12-game winning streak last night in this space.

Bulls Snap Brooklyn’s Streak

The Brooklyn Nets came into the United Center last night riding a 12-game winning streak, but that ended when the Bulls handed the Nets their first loss since December 4 (a 103-92 loss to the Boston Celtics).

Kevin Durant’s 44 points on 68.2 percent shooting wasn’t enough to top the Bulls, who shot 53.1 percent as a team and got a team-high 22 points from DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Williams. The Bulls scored 40 points in the first quarter, and won each quarter except for the third, on their way to a 121-112 victory.

The Nets’ loss is their first in over a month, and they have a tough stretch ahead with matchups against the Pelicans, Heat, and Celtics between now and this time next week. However, Brooklyn’s winning streak propelled them to a 25-13 record and the second-best record in the East after an 8-11 start to the season.

Even with the loss to the Bulls last night, the Nets have won 16 of their previous 18 games dating back to Thanksgiving. Brooklyn is tied with the Bucks for the second seed in the Eastern Conference and just one game behind the Celtics for the top spot.

As for the Bulls, they can apparently only beat good teams this season. They’re 17-21 on the year and in the 10th spot in the Eastern Conference standings but are somehow 8-1 against the Nets, Celtics, Heat, and Bucks.

Zion to Miss Three Weeks with Hamstring Strain

Zion Williamson’s revenge tour has hit a speed bump as the Pelicans’ star will miss at least three weeks with a hamstring strain.

Williamson suffered the injury late in the third quarter of Monday’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Williamson came up limping after a fast break and was later ruled out of the game – one in which he had 26 points on 10-of-12 shooting before exiting.

Williamson was leading the Pelicans in scoring this season (26.0 points per game) and scored a season and career-high 43 points against the Timberwolves last week. Shams Charania reported that Williamson would be reevaluated in three weeks on Tuesday evening:

Hornets Lose Kelly Oubre for 4-6 Weeks

In the midst of a career campaign (20.2 points per game), Hornets’ forward Kelly Oubre will be sidelined 4-6 weeks as he undergoes surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left hand, according to Shams Charania:

Oubre suffered the injury during the season’s first week and has been playing through it. The injury is to his shooting hand, and still, the 27-year-old Oubre has been solid this season, averaging a career-high 20.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists through 35 games.

Oubre’s surgery is set for today, and the Hornets are hopeful for a return shortly after the All-Star break. I have to imagine this will impact any trade rumors he was in prior to the surgery.

And Ones

  • The Cleveland Cavaliers could use a quality wing to make them even better ahead of the NBA trade deadline, but it won’t be easy according to Yahoo’s senior NBA columnist Jake Fischer who explores their options in his latest column:
  • Fischer also penned a column on Chicago suburban native Max Strus, who has become a mainstay in Miami after an ACL tear ended his shot with his hometown Bulls. Again, this will forever frustrate me. I was at DePaul games on press row, where Gar Foreman and John Paxson were in attendance to watch Strus in college. They knew what he was, and they weren’t good enough evaluators.
  • Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess is gearing up for a run at the NBA and will participate in a combine that will feature other former NBA and collegiate players, per Brandon Robinson:
  • The final seconds of the Warriors-Pistons game last night were insane. Klay Thompson tied the game at 119-a-piece with one second left, and then Saddiq Bey drained a buzzer-beater to give the Pistons a season sweep over the Warriors:
  • Teams can begin to sign players to 10-day contracts today. Keith Smith breaks down the rules of 10-day contracts and lists some names to keep an eye on over at Spotrac:
  • No Thursday Night Football tonight, but Luka and Jayson Tatum go head-to-head on TNT as the Mavericks take on the Celtics at 6:30 p.m. CT.

    written by

    Patrick grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods before moving to the Western Suburbs of Chicago before eventually relocating to the Las Vegas area with his family in 2023. He started with Bleacher Nation in 2021 and has spent time as a Staff Writer and on the Chicago Blackhawks beat. He is currently a writer and editor at Bleacher Nation covering the Chicago Bears and the NFL at large and the author of the Bleacher Nation Newsletter. Patrick is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

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