(Reuters) - Brook Lopez led the way with 20 points in three quarters as the Brooklyn Nets outlasted an under-strength Chicago Bulls 93-89 at home on Friday.
It took a final quarter comeback led by the bench for the Nets to prevail against the Bulls, who were without the services of Carlos Boozer and All Star Joakim Noah because of injury.
The Nets improved to 28-19 as Joe Johnson and MarShon Brooks impressed with 13 points apiece. Brooks nailed nine of his in the final quarter when Andray Blatche scored all 11 of his points.
“It’s huge, especially when a lot of our starters didn’t have it going tonight,” Nets guard Deron Williams told reporters.
“It was good that those guys came in and stepped up for us. Without them, we don’t win this game.”
Coming in as the best road team in the Eastern Conference, Chicago dropped to 28-18 after just their third loss in 11 games.
While they shot 91 percent from the free-throw line they could not find their range from the three-point arc, making just one of 14.
The Bulls, also still without Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich, were best served by Luol Deng with 18 points, while Taj Gibson battled hard for 16 points and nine rebounds.
“This is good for our team,” Gibson said. “It’s all for the better come playoff time when we get everybody back and we’re fully healthy, we feel like we’ve got a shot of winning the East.”
Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles, editing by Nick Mulvenney