NEW YORK – Taj Gibson enjoyed coming home for the holidays.
Gibson, a Brooklyn native, scored 20 points and Jimmy Butler added 15 to help the Chicago Bulls rout the Nets 95-78 on Wednesday.
“It was stressful,” said the 28-year-old, who grew up minutes from Barclays Center. “I did a toy drive and I was tired, but it was great to see my family.”
Gibson led a balanced offense with six players in double figures for Chicago, which was buoyed by the return of guards Kirk Hinrich and Butler.
With the Bulls trailing 50-49 early in the third quarter, Butler took over, keying a 21-5 run that gave Chicago control. Butler, who sat out the last game with a right ankle injury, started the burst with a 3-pointer and added a three-point play that made it 57-52. That was the first of 12 straight points by the Bulls.
“Coming out of halftime was a focus for us,” Hinrich said.
Chicago (11-16) led by 19 at the end of the period after Reggie Evans’ dunk with less than a second left ended a 5 1/2-minute field goal drought for the Nets (9-19).
Brooklyn couldn’t get much closer in the fourth and was serenaded with a chorus of loud boos from the fans.
“They cheer when things are good and they let you know when things aren’t going good,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “They expect good and they expect it 90 percent of the time, but right now we are 90 percent bad and so they have every right to boo and express how they feel.”