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After firing coach Steve Nash, Nets stumble against Bulls

Nov 1, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) shields the ball from Chicago Bulls forward Javonte Green (24) during the first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Zach LaVine scored 20 of his season-high 29 points in the fourth quarter as the Chicago Bulls rallied down the stretch for a 108-99 victory over the struggling Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday in New York.

LaVine scored eight straight points during a 10-0 run that spanned 1:45 and gave the Bulls a 101-90 lead. He hit a 10-footer in the lane and then connected on two long 3-pointers before Nikola Vucevic converted a hook shot for an 11-point edge with 4:57 remaining.

LaVine then nailed another 3-pointer for a 106-94 edge with 2:51 remaining, and Vucevic finished off the comeback with a putback dunk to make it 108-97 with 49.1 seconds left.

LaVine made 10 of 21 shots, including 6 of 10 in the fourth when the Bulls outscored the Nets 31-19.

DeMar DeRozan added 20 points for the Bulls, who shot 52.4 percent in the fourth and 43.8 percent overall. Ayo Dosunmu contributed 17, former Net Goran Dragic chipped in 15 and Patrick Williams finished with 12. Vucevic added seven points and 15 rebounds.

The Nets, playing hours after parting ways with coach Steve Nash, lost for the sixth time in eight games this season. Jacque Vaughn began his second stint coaching the team, but it is expected to a short tenure after reports surfaced about Brooklyn naming former Nets assistant and former Celtics head coach Ime Udoka as its next bench boss.

Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant led all scorers with 32 points to go along with nine rebounds and six assists. Royce O’Neale added 20 points for the Nets, who shot 48 percent. Kyrie Irving was held to four points on 2-of-12 shooting and did not score until early in the fourth quarter.

After taking a 58-52 lead into halftime, Brooklyn held a 76-65 lead on a put-back by Yuta Wantabe with four minutes left in the third. Chicago outscored the Nets 12-4 over the final 3:59 to get within 80-77 on a jumper by DeRozan at the horn.

Chicago never trailed after Alex Caruso’s corner 3-pointer made it 89-88 with 7:52 left. Moments after Irving hit a fadeaway to pull Brooklyn within 91-90 with 7:01 remaining, LaVine began his binge.

–Field Level Media