Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson lift Bulls past Nets

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Brooklyn, NY, United States (4E Sports) – Jimmy Butler scored 11 of his 15 points in the third period to help the Chicago Bulls pull away en route to a 95-78 victory over the slumping Brooklyn Nets in Wednesday’s Christmas Day showdown at Barclays Center.

Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah added six points each as the Bulls (11-16) outscored the Nets, 36-20, in the third to turn a close game into a rout for their second straight victory.

Taj Gibson scored 10 of his game-high 20 points in the fourth to go with his eight boards, Boozer finished with 14, Mike Dunleavy and D.J. Augustin tallied 13 points each while Noah had 10 markers and eight boards for the Bulls.

After missing five straight games due to a back problem, veteran guard Kirk Hinrich finished with six points, four assists and three rebounds.

“We were able to lock into what they were doing,” Hinrich said after the win.

Deron Williams recorded 18 points, Mirza Teletovic added 17 and Joe Johnson added 12 for the Nets (9-19), who lost their fourth consecutive game.

In 20 minutes of action off the bench, Reggie Evans grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds to go with his five points while veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce scored six points apiece.

Teletovic kept the Nets in the game early in the third quarter with a 10-point flurry but the Bulls finished the frame on a 25-8 tear to take a commanding 77-58 lead into the fourth period.

After Garnett made two foul shots to give the Nets a 50-49 lead, the Bulls launched a 17-2 run behind Butler and Boozer to take a 66-52 advantage.

“Chicago’s not a team that scores a lot of points and in that third quarter they scored 36,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said after the loss.

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