Boozer and Gibson combine to see off the Nets.
There were just two games on the NBA schedule on Thursday night, with the Chicago Bulls securing their third straight win after defeating the Brooklyn Nets.
Taj Gibson scored 16 points and Carlos Boozer added 15 on his return from a calf injury, but it was Joakim Noah who led the line with his fifth straight double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds.
As a result, the Bulls move to 27-25 for the season having now won four of their last five with the gap between themselves and Toronto Raptors in third spot in the Eastern Conference shortening further.
“We’re happy, but we’re not satisfied. We’re hungry,” Noah said after the game, as reported by ESPN.
Mike Dunleavy and Jimmy Butler added 14 point apiece, as the Bulls pick up a confidence-boosting win ahead of the All-Star break which will give their players, aside from Noah, a chance to rest and get healthy.
Paul Pierce led Brooklyn with 15 points, but couldn’t help prevent them from slipping to 24-27 and believes that the players could do with a break.
“I think everybody needs a break right now,” Pierce said. “Everybody’s played a lot of games. Every team in the league has played over 50 games. I wish the break was a little bit longer, especially for us older guys.”
Elsewhere, Kevin Durant is one man who doesn’t need a break as he dropped 43 points on the Los Angeles Lakers to send the hosts to a record home losing streak at the Staples Center.
The Lakers suffered a record seventh straight home defeat despite showing signs of competing prior to a sloppy fourth quarter, while the Thunder now move to 20-7 without point guard Russell Westbrook, and 43-12 overall for the season as they open up a lead over the Indiana Pacers for the best record in the league.
This whole group, they are resilient,” Durant said. “We persevered through everything and just stayed together. We had faith no matter what. We are looking forward to having Russell back and make it seem less of a transition for him.”
Chris Kaman and Wesley Johnson scored 19 apiece while Kendall Marshall added 14 points and 17 assists, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Lakers from losing 22 of their last 27 games as injuries continue to handicap coach Mike D’Antoni.
Brooklyn Nets 76-92 Chicago Bulls
Oklahoma City Thunder 107-103 Los Angeles Lakers