Joakim Noah managed just 10 points, six rebounds and one assist for the Bulls, a day after finishing with 13 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds in his fifth career triple-double. The All-Star center rolled his right ankle early in the second half of that game and said it hurt after the game, but he was determined to play Monday in his hometown.
The Bulls had dominated the first two meetings and beaten the Nets four straight times, but Brooklyn controlled this one most of the way in improving to 12-2 at home since Chicago’s rout here on Christmas Day.
“We smashed them in the mouth twice, it’s never going to be easy to come in to tough-minded team and do it again,” Bulls forward Taj Gibson said.
The Nets scored the first eight points, the last one on Williams‘ free throw after Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau screamed his way to a technical foul after calling time. Their lead grew to 15, but the Bulls trimmed it to 27-18 by the end of the first quarter.
Brooklyn led 50-42 at halftime, and Chicago started the second half just as bad as the first. The Nets scored the first seven to take a 57-42 lead when Williams set up Mason Plumlee for a dunk.
“I think we had all intentions to play hard, but like I say, it didn’t show,” Augustin said. “Being down early, you can’t come start the game down, you can’t start the second half down, so that was our big mistakes, and then the turnovers killed us.”
NOTES: The Nets’ 19 steals were their most since finishing with 20 against Indiana on March 21, 1989. … Brooklyn hadn’t scored more than 23 points in a period against Chicago this season and surpassed that in both the first (27) and third (26).
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