KEVIN DURANT scored a game-high 27 points and James Harden notched a double-double of 25 points and 16 assists to lift the visiting Brooklyn Nets to a 138-112 rout of the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday in a matchup of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.
A 22-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters shifted the advantage to Brooklyn, which avenged a 23-point defeat in Chicago on Nov. 8 and a four-point home loss to the Bulls on Dec. 4.
The Nets’ torrid third quarter established the tone in a game they led by as many as 38. Brooklyn shot 12-for-18 and committed just no turnovers in the third while closing the quarter on a 30-8 run after a Nikola Vučević layup tied the game at 71 at the 8:43 mark.
Durant had nine assists to go with his 12th straight game of at least 25 points. Patty Mills (21 points) and Day’Ron Sharpe (20) also finished in double figures. Kyrie Irving added nine points in his third game this season.
Seeking their first regular-season sweep of the Nets since 1997-98, the Bulls still claimed their first season series against Brooklyn in five years.
Zach LaVine paced the Bulls with 22 points. DeMar DeRozan followed with 19, while Coby White (16) and Vučević (14) followed. Chicago committed 17 turnovers while allowing a season high in points.
Brooklyn finished at 56.3% from the floor, including 17-for-32 accuracy from long range. Chicago shot 46.9%.
Sharpe and Harden snagged seven rebounds apiece to help the Nets win the battle along the boards 41-35. Lonzo Ball had seven assists for Chicago, which lost for the second time in 12 games.
Chicago trailed by nine points in the second quarter but charged back behind LaVine, whose seven points in the final 2:18 of the second quarter helped the Bulls pull within 62-60 at the break.
Chicago’s Derrick Jones, Jr. left the game after just 36 seconds with a right knee injury. Jones, Jr. appeared to land awkwardly while jumping for the ball and was helped to the locker room by team training staff. Nic Claxton missed the game for Brooklyn with left hamstring tightness. — Reuters