The Chicago Bulls got their first back-to-back series of the season out of the way Wednesday night with a 115-100 victory over the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Unlike in Tuesday’s opener, the Bulls were the team to get out to the quick start, going on a 7-0 run that forced the Nets to take a timeout at the 9:45 mark of the first quarter. Similar to Tuesday’s opener, Nikola Mirotic started well, scoring five of those seven points.
Derrick Rose also started well, taking advantage of Shane Larkin’s size. Rose posted up on his 5-foot-11 opponent and scored easily on the right block to give the Bulls a 13-6 lead. But Rose and Mirotic weren’t the only Bulls who get off to good starts, though.
Every one of the Bulls’ starters scored in the first quarter, and they easily got out to a big lead. This came despite the fact they didn’t take care of the ball too well. By the 10:01 mark of the second quarter, the Bulls had six turnovers — Doug McDermott had half of them — but were still up 35-25.
From there, though, the Nets started to find their offense while the Bulls started to get sloppy with the ball. This resulted in the Bulls’ once 16-point lead diminishing into a 58-55 lead at halftime.
The Bulls turned it around quickly in the beginning of the third quarter with a 10-0 run, and the Nets couldn’t make a run. The Bulls ran away with the game, putting themselves in a great position heading into the fourth quarter: leading 86-71. They also only had three turnovers compared to the 11 they had in the first half.
The Bulls were in a comfortable enough position in the fourth quarter that Kirk Hinrich got his first stint of the regular season. At that point, the Bulls were up 91-78. But the Nets found some life, particularly with Markel Brown and Brook Lopez on the court. Brown hit two jumpers, and Lopez followed with a pair of free throws to bring the score to 100-94.
Rose responded with his speed, driving from halfcourt all the way to the hole for a layup. Then, Jimmy Butler found Nikola Mirotic for a three that gave the Bulls back their double-digit lead, 105-95. Butler went on to hit a three of his own and easily drove to the basket for a two-handed slam while Mirotic added yet another three to solidify the win.
The Bulls managed to grab the win despite losing the rebounding battle (45-39) and committing more turnovers (19-13). The real difference, though, was three-point shooting, which undoubtedly favored the Bulls.
Of the mere nine three attempts the Nets attempted, they made absolutely none of them. On the other hand, the Bulls got up 28 three-point attempts and connected on 14 of them.
Butler led the Bulls with 24 points on 9-for-11 shooting, and added four rebounds, six assists and two steals in 34 minutes. He was the lone Bull to play over 30 minutes. The rest of the starters — Pau Gasol, Mirotic, Rose and Snell — and Aaron Brooks also scored in double figures.
The Bulls are now 2-0 and will continue regular season play on Friday when they travel to the Palace of Auburn Hills to face the Detroit Pistons at 6:30 p.m. central.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.