Nets tie NBA record with 18 second-half 3-pointers in 125-108 win over Bulls

NEW YORK — The Nets still have an outside shot at qualifying for the NBA’s play-in tournament. But with limited opportunities to strike left in the regular season, they have to start stringing together wins now to have any real hope. Their window of opportunity inches closer to shut with each passing game.

Coming off of back-to-back road wins against Toronto and Washington, Brooklyn had a chance to win its third straight game on Friday night against the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center, something it had not done since knocking off Orlando, Atlanta and Washington Dec. 2-8.

And the Nets got it done, 125-108, thanks to a historical 3-point shooting half. They are now 5.5 games behind the Hawks for the final play-in spot in the Eastern Conference with eight games left.

The Nets (29-45) led by 12 points early in the first quarter, not because they were making shots, but because they were doing other little things well. They collected four offensive rebounds in the opening quarter, tallied 10 second-chance points, forced four turnovers and limited Chicago to 40% shooting while converting on just 34.6% of their own attempts.

It all added up to a plus-11 advantage in field-goal attempts early for Brooklyn and a six-point lead entering the second quarter. But its poor shooting was bound to catch up to it eventually, and it did.

The Bulls woke up over the next 12 minutes on offense while Brooklyn went ice-cold for an extended stretch, thanks in large part to increased defensive pressure from Chicago. And Chicago surged ahead by as many as eight points before a scoring flurry from Dennis Schröder kept the situation from getting out of hand.

But the Bulls still owned the second quarter at both ends of the court, as they outscored Brooklyn 31-20 to take a five-point lead into halftime.

However, the third quarter was a completely different story for the Nets, and that is where they took control of the game for good.

Mikal Bridges caught fire from deep and his teammates — Schröder, Cam Thomas and Dorian Finney-Smith — followed suit. Their collective shot making from distance was the force behind a 17-4 run that gave Nets a 69-63 lead with 7:01 left in the third quarter and the team never cooled off.

Brooklyn went 6 of 7 from deep over the first five minutes of the third quarter after going 7 of 20 in the first half. It outscored Chicago, 39-33, in the third quarter and made nine treys in the period, the second most in any quarter this season.

And the Nets kept pouring it on from behind the arc. They would go on to make nine more 3-pointers in the final frame, which gave them 18 makes in the second half and 25 for the game. The 18 3-pointers they made in the second half tied the NBA’s all-time record for 3s in a half. That has been done just five times in league history.

Schröder contributed 27 points and seven 3-pointers. Bridges added 25 points and seven 3-pointers, which tied a career high for 3s in a game for him. And Thomas shook off a slow start on offense and finished with a team-high 28 points and five treys.

They became the second trio of Nets to make five or more 3-pointers in the same game all time, joining Jeff Green, Tyler Johnson and Landry Shamet.

DeMar DeRozan led Chicago with 31 points and eight rebounds.

Brooklyn will try to push its winning streak to four games on Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers at home.