Chicago had Jimmy Butler back from injury and he had a strong game in scoring 22 points.
But the Bulls got a very good outing from Doug McDermott, who came off the bench and scored 25 points to lead the team to a bit of an uneasy win over the lowly Brooklyn Nets, 118-102.
The Bulls had a 24 point lead in the second quarter and appeared to have an easy game –but not so fast. The Nets rallied on the strength of a 37-24 third quarter. The Nets pulled within 4 points early in the 4th quarter before Chicago reasserted itself.
With the win, Chicago moves to a half game lead over idle Detroit for the 8th and final playoff spot.
Six Bulls scored in double-figures with McDermott leading the way. Bobby Portis scored 12 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Derrick Rose, Aaron Brooks, and Taj Gibson added 12 points each.
McDermott is feeling more comfortable on the court and Fred Hoiberg, the Bulls coach, is happy for him.
“His confidence is at a very high level right now,” Hoiberg said. “He’s finding good shots and he’s taking them.”
Chicago got a season high 60 points from the bench in this game. It helped offset the absence of Pau Gasol who is still out with a knee issue. Gibson was reported to have an hamstring problem, but he played most of the game.
McDermott, in his second year with the Bulls, is finding his touch.
“Just the belief that the coaches and the guys on the team have in me,” he said. “I just got it going early which always helps.”
Bojan Bogdanovic led the Nets with 26 points. Thaddeus Young had a fine game with 16 points and 14 rebounds.
The Bulls were able to make baskets, shooting almost 49% from the floor and out-rebounded the Nets, 50-39. Chicago had a good first half but let the Nets back in the game before Rose and McDermott made some clutch treys in the fourth quarter to pull away.