NEW YORK (AP) — Dwyane Wade returned but the Chicago Bulls sustained a potentially costly loss when the Brooklyn Nets beat them 107-106 on Saturday.
Jimmy Butler scored 33 points for the Bulls, who came in tied for seventh in the Eastern Conference.
Wade started and played 25 minutes, scoring 14 points. He had been expected to miss the remainder of the regular season when he sprained and fractured his right elbow on March 15.
But the Bulls allowed 32 points in the fourth quarter, with Dinwiddie snapping a 103-all with two free throws with 13.6 seconds to play. Butler missed a jumper and Dinwiddie put it away with another pair with 2.4 to play.
Wade was supposed to be limited to about 20 minutes and exited the game with 5:09 left in the fourth quarter and the Bulls leading 94-88. Nikola Mirotic‘s three-point play with 4:24 remaining increased the lead to 97-88 before Brooklyn stormed back to go with a 10-0 run with the three-time NBA champion on the bench.
Levert’s consecutive 3-pointers pulled Brooklyn to 97-94 with 3:28 to go before Rondae Hollis-Jefferson made back-to-back baskets to give the Nets a 98-97 advantage with 2:21 left. Wade then re-entered and Chicago went back ahead 101-98 before Dinwiddie tied it with a 3.
Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo missed his second straight game after spraining his wrist during Tuesday’s loss to the New York Knicks.
Hollis-Jefferson had 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Brook Lopez scored 13 points for the Nets before a sold-out crowd of 17,732 that came out for the NBA’s worst team’s last home game.
Bulls: With two games remaining on the schedule, Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg is unsure whether Rondo will be healthy enough to play Monday night when the Bulls host the Toronto Raptors since the point guard “still has a lot of stiffness in that wrist.”
Nets: Isaiah Whitehead‘s block in the first quarter tied an all-time team record by a guard with 36, set by Darwin Cook during the 1980-81 season. . Brooklyn finished its home schedule at 13-28.
Wade came in averaging 18.5 points and the Bulls could use his veteran leadership. “I think the biggest thing with Dwyane is just the experience factor. He’s obviously been in a lot of huge games over the course go his career, probably more than anybody in the roster,” Hoiberg said. “Obviously Rondo has the championship experience as well, but Dwyane has been there at this time of year when you’re fighting like we are right now. He’s a guy we rely on and we lean on heavily to finish out the season. Hopefully we have an opportunity to play beyond.”