Bulls rout Nets 118-88 in road opener, improve to 3-0

AP File Photo
AP File Photo

NEW YORK (AP) — Dwyane Wade left his defender in the dust with a vintage crossover that brought players on the Chicago bench and fans behind them to their feet.

“He’s still got some ‘ahh’ in his bag,” teammate Jimmy Butler said. “Very impressive.”

So are the new-look Bulls.

Butler scored 22 points, Wade had 12 in the first road game of his career not played for Miami, and the Bulls improved to 3-0 by beating the Brooklyn Nets 118-88 on Monday night.

With Wade and Rajon Rondo in a revamped backcourt, the Bulls opened with home victories against Eastern Conference playoff teams Boston and Indiana before easily handling their road opener, leading by as many as 33 points.

“We only played a little bit together in the preseason, so we’re still learning each other right now. We’re only three games in, but we see it looking good at times,” Wade said.

The Bulls had seven players in double figures, with Wade becoming the last of them when he blew by Bojan Bogdanovic with that crossover and was fouled on a drive to the basket in the fourth quarter.

Nikola Mirotic had 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Taj Gibson added 14 points and 11 boards for the Bulls.

Bogdanovic scored 15 points and Jeremy Lin had 14 for the Nets, who fell to 1-3.

Butler made all five shots as the Bulls built an 18-point lead after one quarter that grew to 25 in the second. Chicago led 93-66 after three, leaving the crowd with little to cheer in the fourth beyond Wade’s smooth moves.

The Nets’ first three games had all been decided by single digits — they had actually outscored opponents 328-326 despite starting 1-2 — but they were never in this one after the opening minutes.

“It was just poor energy right from the start,” center Brook Lopez said. “Obviously there is no excuse for the way we played.”

Butler and Gibson were a combined 9 for 9 in the first quarter as the Bulls got a number of easy baskets while playing at the quicker pace they are using since adding Wade and Rondo.

“It didn’t show in the preseason, but I don’t know what’s gotten into us,” Rondo said. “We turned things around.”

The Nets, who entered averaging an NBA-high 37.3 3-point attempts per game, were 5 for 31 (16 percent) behind the arc.

TIP-INS

Bulls: G Michael Carter-Williams left with what coach Fred Hoiberg said was a sprained left knee in the first half and did not return. Hoiberg said the reserve guard will have an MRI on Tuesday. … The Bulls have won four straight in Brooklyn, tied with Miami for the longest current winning streak.

Nets: Coach Kenny Atkinson said guard Randy Foye, who hasn’t played yet because of a strained right hamstring, was “progressing well.” Also sidelined was backup guard Greivis Vasquez, who felt soreness in his right ankle Saturday at Milwaukee. Atkinson said Vasquez was day to day. … The Nets fell to 6-7 on Halloween. They haven’t won on the holiday since beating the Bulls in 2007.

LOPEZ LEDGER

Robin Lopez improved to 8-6 against twin brother Brook. The two, who rarely speak when playing each other, didn’t even acknowledge each other in the moments before the opening tip. Brook stood with his back to Robin before beating him to win the jump.

VALENTINE’S DAY

Rookie Denzel Valentine, the college player of the year last season at Michigan State, scored his first NBA points with a 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter after replacing Wade.

BROOK’S BACK TO BACKS

Brook Lopez, who has battled foot problems during his career, sat out Saturday in Milwaukee on the second night of a back-to-back but Atkinson was vague when asked about the plan. “There’s an overall plan and then on a game-to-game basis you might have to adjust that depending on a lot of things,” he said. “To get into specifics like that is a little difficult, but we like the plan we put in place. Again, Brook’s on board, we’re on board.”

UP NEXT

Bulls: Visit Boston on Wednesday. The Bulls beat the Celtics 105-99 on Thursday at home in their season opener.

Nets: Host Detroit on Wednesday in the second game of a four-game homestand.