(The Sports Xchange) - Chicago guard Jimmy Butler helped the Bulls withstand some shaky moments by scoring 10 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter during a wire-to-wire 115-100 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
After getting 17 in the season opener against Cleveland, Butler led six players in double figures, shooting 9-of-11 and making his final five shots.
“A lot,” Butler said when asked how much more energy he had after shadowing LeBron James for 36 minutes in Tuesday’s opener.
“But we were making shots tonight so it made it a lot easier to drive to the rim and everybody’s taking and making threes, we’re hard to guard.”
Besides Butler, forward Nikola Mirotic knocked down four of Chicago’s 14 three-pointers and added 18 points.
Center Pau Gasol nearly had a double-double with 16 and nine while point guard Derrick Rose consistently attacked the rim and contributed 15 as the Bulls shot 53.8 percent (42-of-78) and made 14-of-28 shots from behind the arc.
While Chicago’s offense was flowing, the Nets struggled offensively and dropped their first home opener since moving to Brooklyn in 2012.
Center Brook Lopez led Brooklyn with 26 points but was 1-for-6 in the third quarter when the Nets shot 19 percent.
“I‘m very disappointed in myself in the first and third quarter,” Lopez said. “I don’t feel like I played well and it hurt us.”
Reserve forward Andrea Bargnani added 17 but forward Joe Johnson was held to 10 on 4-of-15 shooting and the Nets shot 41.9 percent, missed all nine of their three-point attempts and 28 shots in the paint.
The Bulls were difficult to guard for most of the night as they scored the first seven points and led by double digits for significant stretches. They could never get the lead above 19 and saw it whittled to nine when Butler began controlling things.
“He was phenomenal tonight,” Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg said of Butler.
“I love the way Jimmy’s playing,” Rose said. “I want him to shoot more but I guess he knows what he’s doing. He has a good pace with how he’s playing. He’s coming down with the ball in his hands. He’s making decisions and making plays. He looks great doing it. He just needs to get more comfortable with it.”
The Nets hung around and were within 100-94 with 3:41 left following two free throws by Lopez before the Bulls closed it out with a 15-6 run.
Rose hit a floater with 3:16 left when he barely beat the shot clock and Mirotic hit an open three-pointer off a feed by Butler about a minute later.
“We kept pushing, we made a few runs to get back into the game,” Brooklyn forward Thaddeus Young said. “It wasn’t enough.”
Compiled by Peter RUtherford