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Bulls lose to undermanned Nets, but insist they will stay the course

In yet another game that looked very winnable on the schedule, the underachieving Bulls couldn’t get out of their own way. And if they think help is coming from coach Jim Boylen with major changes, think again.

It would be easy for Bulls coach Jim Boylen to make changes after a 4-9 start.

Not little ones like he has already.

Moving Luke Kornet out of the rotation? Been there, done that. Benching an ineffective Lauri Markkanen late in games. That was done twice earlier this month.

We’re talking major rotational changes or possibly a complete overhaul of the offensive philosophy.

Heck, Boylen did it last season when he initially took over for Fred Hoiberg. From extra practice time, harder conditioning, and a completely different style of play, Boylen wanted this roster to understand urgency. Guess who needs a refresher course?

Thanks to a first quarter in which the Bulls were outplayed and outscored 30-19, the United Center crowd had to watch them lose to an undermanned Nets team.

“I don’t know if we should be relaxed or calm,’’ guard Zach LaVine said after the latest disappointing 117-111 defeat. “We should take offense to it. We’ve had a real easy schedule to start off and that’s what I was saying earlier — you’ve got to win the games you’re supposed to win and the rest of the schedule will take care of itself.

“You battle the tough games and stuff like that, but like I said earlier we’ve pissed away a lot of games I think we should have won.’’

There’s no debating that. What is debatable is whether Boylen will make a dramatic change to shake things up. Not yet, he said.

“We’ve got to stay the course,’’ Boylen said. “Listen, nobody likes losing games, nobody likes losing home games. There’s no shame in losing an NBA game. It happens every day. What I’m disappointed in is our start, home game, a Saturday night in Chicago, I didn’t like the way we started.

“I can’t play for them. They’ve got to come out and they’ve got to do it.’’

They obviously didn’t. Not in the first quarter, and not from the three-point line, where they once again looked inept, shooting 9-for-39 (23.1 percent)

“What happens when you get in a hole like that, you’ve got to use so much energy to get back in it,’’ Boylen said.

To go along with the slow start, the Bulls still lack late-game execution.

Down six with 2:04 left, Markkanen missed a wide-open three-point attempt that would have made it a one-possession game. It would come back to haunt the home team, as former Bull Spencer Dinwiddie was fouled on a three-point attempt by rookie Coby White, and made all three from the line.

The last 1:35 became a boat race from the free-throw line, and it was a race that the Nets (5-7) wouldn’t lose.

LaVine, who finished with 36, made it interesting, hitting a three to cut it to three, but Dinwiddie drained both free throws with 19.5 seconds left to keep the lead at five. Markkanen hit his biggest shot of the season, stroking an off-balance three with 9.5 seconds left. But after Joe Harris made both free throws with 8.8 seconds left, the Bulls’ chances were on life support.

That plug was kicked out of the wall when LaVine missed a 30-footer, and Garrett Temple finished off the Bulls with two from the stripe.

Just like that, the Nets ended a five-game road trip with just their second victory. Even worse, the Nets were without Kyrie Irving (right shoulder) and Caris LeVert (right thumb).

“Brooklyn just wanted it more than us,’’ LaVine added.

Add that to the list of problems.