Jimmy Butler made a dramatic jumper at the buzzer to give the Bulls a 101-99 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
Butler, who had 40 points and 11 rebounds, was mobbed by celebrating teammates at half court after the shot rippled through the net as the buzzer sounded to end the game. The shot enabled the Bulls to come back from a seven-point deficit with 2:25 left.
The Bulls evened their record at 16-16; the Nets fell to 8-23.
The Bulls also got 16 points from Dwyane Wade, 12 points from Robin Lopez and nine rebounds and 12 assists from Rajon Rondo. Brook Lopez had 33 points for the Nets. Butler was 11 of 11 on free throws. The Nets were 13 for 33 on threes while the Bulls were three of 13, but outrebounded Brooklyn 55-38 and had 24 second chance points.
The Bulls with Doug McDermott and Michael Carter-Williams back had their full roster for the first time since the first week of the season. The Nets shoot the third most threes per game behind the Rockets and Cavaliers, and they got three in the first quarter from center Brook Lopez to take a 15-7 lead after a 9-0 start. The Bulls played, too, getting threes from Rondo and Mirotic and a Rondo lob to Butler for an 8-0 run to close the quarter and 23-20 Bulls lead after one quarter. Even though the Nets give up the most points per game in the league, the pace didn’t quicken and the teams tied at 31 with about eight minutes left in the first half. The Nets moved ahead 47-44 with 2:30 in the half. They were taking their threes while Butler attacked the basket for the Bulls. Butler had 13 points as the Nets rolled into halftime leading 49-46 by making nine of 18 three pointers. The Bulls were two of six on threes, but with 10 free throws to two for the Nets.
Wade got the Bulls off to a good start in the third quarter with six straight points, but the Nets did a good job breaking down the Bulls on drives as the Bulls were tending to look for the three. That enabled the Nets to take a 65-60 lead midway through the third and move that to 73-66 with three minutes left after a tortured sequence in which the two teams combined for five consecutive turnovers, four on travels. But with Butler scoring 14 straight points, six on free throws, the Bulls got within 78-76 heading into the fourth quarter. Butler and Wade combined for 24 of the Bulls’ 30 third quarter points. The Nets continued to launch threes to open the fourth quarter, but were missing with Bulls pressure. But the Nets remained ahead 83-82 with eight minutes left. Butler battling inside and out kept the Bulls close after a Randy Foye steal and slam dunk. The Nets led 91-88 with 5:25 left and then Butler came out after coming down awkwardly after a miss with 4:51 left. Butler returned shortly thereafter, though Wade left with a migraine late in the fourth quarter. With just under three minutes left, the Nets were hanging onto a 97-90 lead. With a three from Butler and steal by Rondo that led to a Carter-Williams driving score, the Bulls tied the game at 97 with a minute left. Butler then put the Bulls ahead with an elbow jumper with 27 seconds left and Brook Lopez tied it with 12.6 seconds left with a driving dunk over brother Robin.