The noise destroyed Caris LeVert's triumphant return. Or maybe Nets & # 39; spoiled performance.
In LeVert's first appearance on the court in three months, the networks were beaten 125-106 by the woebegone Bulls. The injured guard's comeback was the only silver lining.
The net was burned to the defense, allowing Chicago to shoot 54.1 percent overall and 14-of-28 from 3-point range. They let Lauri Markkan punish them for a high 31 point and 18 rebounds game, while Zach LaVine added 26 points, five assists and several highlights. The nights were just as poor in offenses.
Barclays Center crowd of 15,267 has clearly had expectations raised and was audibly disappointed by the efforts of the network (29-28). But they cheered LeVert with "Welcome back! Welcome back!" When he came back from a cruel foot injury that looked like it happened as a season-ending and he came back to next weekend's All-Star break .
"It's great. We had to celebrate having him back. Much of what we did had an excellent start to the season. He is one of our best players, frankly. Good to get him back , "said Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, whose pregame advice to LeVert was not about man-to-man defense or matchups, but at the moment.
"Enjoy it. Don't worry about the mistakes. Just enjoy it, enjoy back with sweat and shoot and defend and restore. That's the message. I think we expect some routes and Some errors and that's fine. "
There were routes and bugs – but ironically, most of the other networks were not LeVert.
There will undoubtedly be rust, because LeVert missed 42 battles after having suffered an eerie subtalar dislocation in his right foot on November 12 in Minnesota. But in reality he looked like he hadn't skipped a blow.
LeVert (who averaged a high team of 18.4 points when he went down) finished with 11 points, four assists, two rebounds and an amazing five steals only 15 minutes from the bench. The steels were career-high and most of a net all season.
But despite 23 points from D & # 39; Angelo Russell and 19 from Joe Harris, the networks were thoroughly played out by a German team in tank mode at. 13-42 and chase Zion Williamson.
The net fell behind early and stayed there.
At that time, LeVert made its first appearance – checked in at Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at 10:39 am back in the second quarter – the networks already trailed 35-27.
He snapped a rebound with 5:21 back in half and hit a 13-foot floater five seconds later to his first basket in three months. But the networks, which paused 55-48 in pause, were offensive by kilts and shot only 37.2 percent. It didn't get much better.
The net fell behind 14 on free throws by Bull's guard Kris Dunn with 57 seconds remaining in third, and the deficit swelled to 19 in fourth.
Bulls got a deserve win while the networks have two games – Monday in Toronto and Wednesday in Cleveland – incorporating LeVert and preparing rotations before the All-Star break.
"If you want to talk about the drive and a purpose, the road [LeVert] must attack his rehab was phenomenal," said general manager Sean Marks. "A lot of credit to the performance team and [assistant coach] Jacque Vaughn who was with him through This whole thing. … And honestly, it was led by Caris. It is fantastic. We are, of course, ecstatic to get him back to court, and we will just keep bringing him together as it comes. "