Bulls 95, Nets 78

Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Guard Jimmy Butler scored 11 of his 15 points in the third quarter and the Chicago Bulls pulled away for a 95-78 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday afternoon at the Barclays Center.
Forward Taj Gibson led Chicago with 20 points, but it was Butler who seemed to spark Chicago's highest-scoring third quarter of the season. Butler started the quarter by missing five of his first six shots from the field but made his next three as the Bulls dominated the third by a 36-20 margin.
Butler had the go-ahead 3-pointer that made it 52-50 with 6:36 remaining and added a three-point play for a 57-52 lead with 5:11 left. He also converted another three-point play with 2:57 left that put Chicago ahead 66-52 and sank two foul shots with 2:11 left for a 70-54 bulge that grew to 77-58 entering the fourth quarter.
Forward Carlos Boozer added 14 points for the Bulls, who won their second straight after a four-game losing streak and played without forward Luol Deng (Achilles) for the third straight game. Mike Dunleavy and D.J. Augustin contributed 13 apiece as Chicago shot 48.6 percent from the field (36 of 74).
Point guard Deron Williams led the Nets with 18 points and forward Mirza Teletovic added 17.
Teletovic scored 10 straight points early in the third quarter before it all came apart in Brooklyn's fourth straight loss and 19th in 28 games. Some fans in the upper deck chanted "Fire Kidd" during final minutes of the fourth quarter in a game that saw Brooklyn shoot 35.2 percent from the field (25 of 71)
The Nets made seven of their first 10 shots from the field and took a 15-8 lead midway through the first quarter before settling for a 23-21 lead after one quarter.
The Bulls responded late in the second quarter with a 10-0 run and opened a 39-31 advantage on a basket by guard Kirk Hinrich before taking a 41-38 lead into halftime.
Teletovic gave the Nets a 48-47 lead with a 3-pointer, but Chicago took over shortly thereafter with a series of layups and never looked back.
NOTES: F Jimmy Butler returned after missing Saturday's win over Cleveland with a right ankle injury and G Kirk Hinrich came back after missing four games with a back injury and had six points. ... Chicago is 11-7 on Christmas ... Nets F Andrei Kirilenko was held out of the game with back spasms, though the team had hoped he could return by now. He has missed 24 games with the injury and has played in 53 minutes this season. ... Nets G Paul Pierce was fined $15,000 on Tuesday for his flagrant foul on Indiana PG George Hill on Monday night. ... The Nets played their second straight Christmas Day game at home. Last year, they were blown out by the Boston Celtics and two days later coach Avery Johnson was fired.

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