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Bulls Stampede Into Break With Nets Victory

Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah each had a double-double for the Bulls Thursday night.

Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah each had a double-double for the Bulls Thursday night.

The Chicago Bulls enter the All-Star break on a three-game winning streak, after defeating the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.

The Bulls rolled to a 92-76 victory at the United Center, holding the Nets to a season-low 76 points.

Comfortable advantages in the first and fourth quarter proved to be enough for Tom Thibodeau’s side to upend Brooklyn for the second time this season.

The Bulls jumped out to a 29-19 lead at the end of the first quarter before outscoring the Nets 23-15 in the final stanza, navigating an even middle of the game.

All-Star Joakim Noah had another standout performance for the home side, coming just three assists shy of a triple-double. The center tallied 14 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists on the night.

Returning to the bench following the return of Carlos Boozer from injury, Taj Gibson paced the Bulls, scoring 16 points to go alongside five boards and a pair of blocks. Boozer recorded a double-double, notching 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Kirk Hinrich added 14 points and seven dimes, while Jimmy Butler chipped in with 14 points too.

Chicago’s league-best defense proved too much for a Nets team that never truly found its offensive rhythm.

Paul Pierce led the side with 15 points, while Deron Williams (13), Joe Johnson (11) and Shaun Livingston (10) all scored in double digits.

However, the Nets were just 26-of-67 (38.8%) from the field, including 5-of-17 (29.4%) from beyond the arc, and struggled to put points on the board. Conversely, Chicago shot 50 percent as a team.

The victory marked Chicago’s third consecutive success and a fourth win in five games. The Bulls have also taken eight of their last 11 at home, and are 15-7 since January 1.

All of that is good enough for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls are just one game behind the Toronto Raptors, whom they will meet when action resumes next week.

The Nets fell to a third straight road loss and moved to 8-16 on the season away from Barclays Center. With their next six on the road, Jason Kidd will hope his side can begin to turn that record around.

Brooklyn goes into the All-Star break in seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings, thanks mostly to a 14-6 record since January 1. The Nets remain many people’s pick to eventually emerge as the No. 3 seed.

Having already defeated Brooklyn on Christmas Day, Chicago will look to sweep the season head-to-head when the two sides meet again on March 3. The Nets will host the Bulls that night.

Vegas Impact

Chicago (24-27-0 ATS) covered the spread (-3.5) for the third straight game and fourth time in five contests.

The Bulls are now 2-0-0 ATS against the Nets on the season, and 14-8-0 ATS since January 1.

Brooklyn (25-25-0 ATS) had covered the spread in three of its last four before failing against Chicago on Thursday. The Nets are 13-7-0 ATS in 2014.

As it did in the earlier meeting between the two sides, the total (185) went under, a trend Chicago (20-31-0) has seen in eight of its last 10, and more often than not this season.

Brooklyn (26-22-0) had seen the total go over in eight of its last 10 before Thursday’s result.

As we reach the All-Star break, Brooklyn (18/1) and Chicago (25/1) hold the third and fourth spot respectively on the list of odds to win the Eastern Conference. Both are worlds apart from the Miami Heat (5/6) and Indiana Pacers (EVEN) at the top of the list.

Bovada has more NBA futures for you to peruse while you’re waiting for the NBA to return.

Up Next

Chicago’s Joakim Noah will head to New Orleans to take up a spot on the bench for the 63rd annual NBA All-Star Game.

He’ll be joined by Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson, who will partake in Saturday’s Three-Pointer contest before playing in the All-Star Game.

Johnson’s rookie teammate, Mason Plumlee, will also be in New Orleans, where he’ll appear in the Rising Stars Challenge for Team Webber. His brother Miles Plumlee, of the Phoenix Suns, will be on the other side of the court.

After this weekend’s All-Star festivities, Chicago (27-25, 12-15 road) will return to action on Wednesday, making the journey north of the border to face the Toronto Raptors (28-24, 14-10 home).

Meanwhile, Brooklyn (24-27, 8-16 road) will begin a six-game West Coast road swing with a trip to Salt Lake City for a showdown with the Utah Jazz (19-33, 12-14 home).

Shortly after, on February 20, the NBA will reach its trade deadline. According to sources, the Bulls’ front office doesn’t plan on striking a deal before the deadline, despite the apparent unrest of Carlos Boozer.


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