Bulls continue hot start with domination of Nets

This Chicago Bulls dozer continues to push and bury opponents, Monday in yet another dominating performance with a 118-88 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

The Bulls are 3-0 and play Wednesday in Boston.

Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 11 points, attempting just 10 field goals. Taj Gibson had 14 points and 11 rebounds, Dwyane Wade had 12 points and Rajon Rondo 10 points. Rondo was credited with four assists, but he started perhaps a dozen fast breaks that finished with baskets after multiple passes. Off the bench, Nikola Mirotic had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Isaiah Canaan 15 points and Doug McDermott 12.

Fast start, take care of the ball, be unselfish. Everything Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg has been talking about the players continue to do. Once again it was a strong start for the Bulls, an 18-9 lead before the Nets could get their first timeout and a 38-20 Bulls lead after one quarter. Butler was terrific with 11 points and a pair of three pointers, though it was the exceptional ball movement and unselfish play that stood out, highlighted by a full court fast break with Gibson outletting to Rondo at halfcourt. He fired cross court to Wade who found Butler running to the basket for a slam dunk. Beautiful stuff. Mirotic made a pair of threes early in the second quarter, and then it was Canaan, substituting for injured Michael Carter-Williams. Carter-Williams went down with a left knee issue (he did walk off under his own power) and would not return.

Canaan replaced him and with Butler and Rondo finding him open, Canaan made a trio of three pointers and made all four of his shots for 13 second quarter points in eight minutes as the Bulls took a 65-44 halftime lead. It was the second consecutive game leading by 21 at halftime. The Bulls continued to lead the league in percentage of baskets with assists with 17 for 25 field goals in the first half and a 30-20 rebounding advantage. The Bulls also had a dozen first half fast break points.

The Bulls didn’t so much as continue to pour it on in the third quarter as much as keeping the Nets stymied. Rondo had another one of those midcourt steals, this time against Jeremy Lin for a score and Butler was in position for a follow after Rondo fired 50 feet ahead for to Wade for a shot that was blocked. The Bulls pushed the lead ahead to 82-55 with Mirotic confident in his shots and then Gibson closed the quarter with a pair of tough moves inside for a 93-66 Bulls lead after three quarters.

Wade then gave the crowd their money’s worth with back to back vintage Wade between the legs dribbles and then crossover moves on consecutive plays, the first for a score and foul. Wade then drew a standing ovation and left with the starters and leading by 25 with seven minutes remaining.