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Balanced attack helps Bulls down Nets

Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Carlos Boozer returned from a nagging calf injury that cost him three games and totaled 15 points and 10 rebounds to help the Chicago Bulls head into the All-Star break on a high note with a 92-76 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

Boozer's replacement in the starting lineup when he was sidelined, Taj Gibson, chipped in with a 16-point, five-rebound effort in a reserve role, and Joakim Noah continued to fill the stat sheet with 14 points, 13 boards and seven assists.

"We have to look at our team in totality. For us to achieve, we need Carlos to play well. With our depth up front, we have three starters and they all have to sacrifice," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.

Chicago, which has taken four of its last five, owned a 45-27 rebounding advantage and held a Nets team that had won four of five coming in to a season-low point total on 38.8 percent shooting.

Paul Pierce led the Nets with 15 points but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter. Brookyln's lone All-Star, Joe Johnson, provided 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting.

"We need to play better defense when Kevin [Garnett] comes out of the game. We sustain when he is in there, but he can't play 34 minutes," said Pierce.

Six of the 15 turnovers created by the Bulls came in the opening quarter, one coming off a steal by Jimmy Butler that saw Kirk Hinrich run the fastbreak and send a lob back to Butler, whose deft touch pass to Noah resulted in an uncontested dunk and an 18-11 Chicago lead early on.

Butler's reverse layup and Nazr Mohammed's jumper opened the second-quarter scoring and stretched the margin to 33-19, and it was a 49-41 game at halftime.

Pierce scored eight points in the first 4:01 of the third, with his two free throws cutting the gap to 56-53. Chicago, though, scored 11 of the next 13 points to regain its double-digit advantage, and a three-point play by Deron Williams in the closing seconds of the third pulled Brooklyn within 69-61.

The Nets were again within three, 75-72, following the first 3-pointer of Andre Kirilenko's season midway through the fourth, and again the Bulls had an answer with nine consecutive points.

D.J. Augustin countered Kirilenko's triple with a deep make of his own, and the run was capped when blocks by Noah and Butler on Andray Blatche on the same possession led to a Gibson jumper at the other end.

It was a double-digit game for the final three minutes.

Game Notes

Chicago is two games over .500 (27-25) for the first time since it was 6-4 on Nov. 21 ... The Bulls have won the last four meetings, including a Christmas Day victory when they held the Nets to 78 points, which was their season low prior to Thursday ... Butler and Mike Dunleavy each had 14 points for Chicago ... Brooklyn's first six games after the break will be on the road.

02/14 08:24:53 ET

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Schedule

Thursday, April 24Full Scoreboard
Indiana 4/24 7:00 PM ET
Atlanta NBA TV, FS-IN, SportSouth
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Three. Series tied, 1-1.
Oklahoma City 4/24 8:00 PM ET
Memphis TNT, FSN-OK, SpSouth
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Three, Series tied 1-1.
LA Clippers 4/24 10:30 PM ET
Golden State TNT, CSN-BAY, FSN-PT
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Three. Series tied, 1-1.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Toronto 48 34 .585 --- 26-15 22-19 32-20 L 1
x-Brooklyn 44 38 .537 4 28-13 16-25 26-26 L 2
New York 37 45 .451 11 19-22 18-23 26-26 W 4
Boston 25 57 .305 23 16-25 9-32 21-31 L 2
Philadelphia 19 63 .232 29 10-31 9-32 14-38 W 2
 
Central W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Indiana 56 26 .683 --- 35-6 21-20 38-14 W 2
x-Chicago 48 34 .585 8 27-14 21-20 35-17 L 1
Cleveland 33 49 .402 23 19-22 14-27 21-31 W 1
Detroit 29 53 .354 27 17-24 12-29 23-29 L 4
Milwaukee 15 67 .183 41 10-31 5-36 12-40 L 3
 
Southeast W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Miami 54 28 .659 --- 32-9 22-19 34-18 L 3
x-Washington 44 38 .537 10 22-19 22-19 33-19 W 4
x-Charlotte 43 39 .524 11 25-16 18-23 30-22 W 3
x-Atlanta 38 44 .463 16 24-17 14-27 28-24 W 1
Orlando 23 59 .280 31 19-22 4-37 17-35 L 4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
2013 - 2014 Western Conference Standings
 
Northwest W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Oklahoma City 59 23 .720 --- 34-7 25-16 36-16 W 1
x-Portland 54 28 .659 5 31-10 23-18 31-21 W 5
Minnesota 40 42 .488 19 24-17 16-25 23-29 L 3
Denver 36 46 .439 23 22-19 14-27 20-32 L 2
Utah 25 57 .305 34 16-25 9-32 13-39 W 1
 
Pacific W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-LA Clippers 57 25 .695 --- 34-7 23-18 36-16 L 1
x-Golden State 51 31 .622 6 27-14 24-17 31-21 W 2
Phoenix 48 34 .585 9 26-15 22-19 28-24 W 1
Sacramento 28 54 .341 29 17-24 11-30 15-37 L 1
LA Lakers 27 55 .329 30 14-27 13-28 15-37 W 2
 
Southwest W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-San Antonio 62 20 .756 --- 32-9 30-11 38-14 L 2
x-Houston 54 28 .659 8 33-8 21-20 31-21 L 1
x-Memphis 50 32 .610 12 27-14 23-18 29-23 W 5
x-Dallas 49 33 .598 13 26-15 23-18 29-23 L 1
New Orleans 34 48 .415 28 22-19 12-29 15-37 W 2
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHR 9
DUR 1
 
Final
MIA 101
CHA 97
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR
 
Final
ATL 3
MIA 1
Final
CHC 5
ARI 7
Final
COL 10
SFG 12
Final
OAK 0
TEX 3
Final
SEA 5
HOU 3
Final
PIT 2
CIN 5
Final
CLE 5
KAN 3
Final
WAS 5
ANA 4
Final
TOR 8
BAL 10
Final
DET 4
CWS 6
Final
TAM 4
MIN 6
Final
BOS 5
NYY 1
Final
NYM 3
STL 2
Final
MIL 5
SDP 2
Final
LOS 5
PHI 2
12:05pm Today
CLE
KAN
 
12:35pm Today
PIT
CIN
 
1:08pm Today
DET
CWS
 
1:10pm Today
TAM
MIN
 
1:10pm Today
NYM
STL
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
ARI
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
SDP
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
BAL
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
NYY
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
PHI
 
Final
MIA 101
CHA 97
Final
SAN 92
DAL 113
Final
HOU 105
POR 112
7:00pm Tonight
ATL
IND
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
OKC
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
LAC
Final
CLB 4
PIT 3
Final
DAL 4
ANA 2
Final
CHI 4
STL 3
8:00pm Tonight
DET
BOS
9:30pm Tonight
MIN
COL
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
SJS
Final
CHR 9
DUR 1
 
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR