The Chicago Bulls recovered from an early 12-point deficit to thoroughly trample the Brooklyn Nets 105-80, pulling out their huge lead in the second half.
Derrick Rose posted 23 points, one shy of his season-high 24 and looked vastly improved on recent performances. Rose shot 8-15 from the field, including 3-7 from behind the three point line.
The line may look familiar with Rose once again taking almost half his shots from deep, but half were on good looks as the Bulls ran away from Brooklyn after halftime. Four of Derrick’s first five shots came in the paint, most of those coming in a 50-second stretch where he scored seven points.
Pau Gasol continued to his born-again season with 16 points and 16 rebounds, picking up the slack for Joakim Noah who sat out injured.
The first half was a sloppy, messy affair with both sides struggling to simply control the ball. The Nets burst out to 10-1 and 21-10 leads as Chicago was once again lazy on defense and forcing things offensively.
The game was tied 51-51 coming out of half-time and the Bulls played the remainder of the game as if they’d realized this was the Brooklyn Nets they were playing, not one of the league’s elite.
After a rough first two minutes of the third, the Bulls went on a 13-0 run with everyone scoring and the Nets looking awful on offense.
Brooklyn threatened to hang around, cutting the lead back down to six and seven points as the third quarter wore on but eventually quit on the night as the Bulls defensive intensity, missing all season, ground their offense to dust in the second half.
The Nets shot just 26% in the second half, scoring just 29 points after half-time and 22 up until the benches entered the game with 3:14 to play.
Rose then hit two of his three long balls of the night to push the lead to 94-73 and 99-73 respectively.
He and Butler combined for 45 points on 25 field goals as well as heading to the line 15 times.
The Bulls take on the Trail Blazers on Friday at the United Center, looking to pull to within one win of .500 at home.
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