CHICAGO: Chicago Bulls forward Pau Gasol called out his teammates for a lack of urgency on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) after a 105-102 loss to the Brooklyn Nets in which Joakim Noah was injured.
The Nets, a woeful 8-20 on the season, snapped an eight-game road losing streak while the Bulls lost their third in a row and fell to 15-11.
Spanish star Gasol said the Bulls struggled at times to match Brooklyn’s intensity.
“We were missing a lot of parts of the game,” Gasol said. “A sense of urgency. We cruise for most of the game. Then when we have our back against the wall, we turn it up and try to give ourselves a chance.
“But sometimes it’s just too late. It’s something we need to address and need to correct and improve upon. We just need change.”
But be careful what you wish for as the change could be a replacement for star center Noah.
Noah had four points, eight rebounds and eight assists when he left the game with a left shoulder sprain in the last minute of the third quarter and did not return. He will be re-examined on Tuesday.
With the game deadlocked at 60-60, the Nets went on a 21-9 run and never trailed again.
“We came out right from the start with a lot of fight and a lot of purpose,” said Nets coach Lionel Hollins. “We took the fight to them. We were very focused for the whole game and that was good to see.”
Brook Lopez had 21 points and 12 rebounds to spark Brooklyn while Jimmy Butler had 24 points and Gasol contributed 20 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots.
Knee in face, tooth in sock
Elsewhere, Atlanta reserve guard Dennis Schroder had 18 points to lead Hawks in double figures as the hosts ripped Portland 106-97 and improved to 18-12 with a fourth consecutive win.
But Schroder lost a tooth in the tussle. While falling to the floor, Schroder hit his face on an opponent’s knee and lost a tooth. He picked it up off the court and tucked it into his sock.
At Washington, Wizards guard John Wall passed out a career-high 19 assists and Marcin Gortat scored a season-best 27 points in a 113-99 victory over Sacramento.
At New York, Orlando center Nikola Vucevic matched his season high with 26 points and the Magic beat the Knicks 107-99, snapping New York’s four-game win streak.
Boston snapped a three-game losing streak, beating visiting Minnesota 113-99, but fans cheered for Timberwolves big man Kevin Garnett, who helped the Celtics win the NBA crown in 2008.
Garnett, who will be 40 in May, was touched as fans chanted “We want K-G” but he did not play. He saluted the crowd in the final seconds, yelling, “I love you all.”
Spurs stay perfect at home
San Antonio improved to 16-0 at home with a 106-92 victory over Indiana, Kawhi Leonard scoring 24 points and keeping Pacer star Paul George to 1-of-14 shooting from the field as the Spurs dominated the fourth quarter to pull away.
Russell Westbrook scored 33 points and Kevin Durant added 24 to lead Oklahoma City over the host Los Angeles Clippers 100-99.
Westbrook’s three-pointer put the Thunder ahead 96-95 but Blake Griffin answered with a dunk that put the Clippers back in front, only to have Westbrook hit a jumper for a 98-97 Oklahoma City edge.
Chris Paul, who scored 32 points, made a layup for the Clippers but Durant sank a jumper for a 100-99 Thunder lead with 5.8 seconds remaining and then blocked Paul’s final shot to secure the victory.
At Houston, James Harden scored 36 points and Terrence Jones added 17 and each made a three-point play in the final minute to help the Rockets hold off Charlotte 102-95.
Gordon Hayward’s 24 points led Utah over visiting Phoenix 110-89.