The Bulls Wednesday made it a 2-0 start to the season with a wire-to-wire 115-100 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
Jimmy Butler was terrific on offense and defense with 24 points on nine of 11 shooting and a smothering defensive effort on Nets scorer Joe Johnson who was four of 15.
The Bulls were 14 of 28 shooting three pointers while the Nets did make any and were zero for nine. Nikola Mirotic had 18 points and was four of eight on threes while Pau Gasol had 16 points and nine rebounds and Derrick Rose 15 points. Brook Lopez had 26 for the Nets. The Bulls close their short road trip in Detroit Friday.
Joakim Noah was back playing Wednesday after his slight scare with a knee bruise in the Tuesday opener. The Bulls began with their same starting lineup of Rose, Butler, Gasol, Tony Snell and Mirotic. And it looked like coach Fred Hoiberg would stick with it as the Bulls against a Nets team in transition more off the court than on took hold of the game from the start with a 7-0 run in the first three minutes. The Bulls quickly extended the lead to 2410 and 28-12 and ended the quarter leading 30-19 as Butler had eight points and Rose four and they were a combined five of five shooting. The Bulls started the second quarter with five straight points, but the Nets went with a smaller, quicker team. The Bulls began committing turnovers and giving up second chance points as the Nets got within 10. Then with Brook Lopez returning and hitting from outside, the Nets got cut the Bulls halftime lead to 58-55 even as the Bulls shot 56.1 percent in the first half. The Nets shot 70 percent in the second quarter. Gasol and Butler each had 12 points in the half.
The Bulls regained control of the game behind the play of Rose and Butler in the third quarter as Rose drove hard to the basket and Butler overplayed on defense, making steals and holding down top scorer Joe Johnson. With six players in double figures through three quarters, the Bulls took an 86-71 lead heading into the fourth quarter.