NBA regular season

Nets shut down Bulls in battle between East leaders

Nets shut down Bulls in battle between East leaders

TOUGH. Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu gets sandwiched between the Nets duo of James Harden and Blake Griffin.

Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Kevin Durant and James Harden combine for 52 points as the Nets clip the Bulls for the first time this season

Kevin Durant scored a game-high 27 points and James Harden notched 25 points and 16 assists to lift the visiting Brooklyn Nets to a 138-112 rout of the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, January 12 (Thursday, January 13, Manila time) 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 November 8 and a four-point home loss to the Bulls on December 4.

The torrid third quarter established the tone on a night when the Nets led by as many as 38. Brooklyn shot 12-for-18 and committed just one turnover in the third while closing the quarter on a 30-8 run after a Nikola Vucevic layup tied the game at 71 at the 8:43 mark.

Durant had 9 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 9 points in his third game this season.

Seeking their first regular-season sweep of the Nets since 1997-1998, 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, Coby White had 16, and Vucevic scored 14. 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 7 rebounds apiece to help the Nets win the battle along the boards 41-35. Lonzo Ball had 7 assists for Chicago, which lost for the second time in 12 games.

Chicago trailed by 9 points in the second quarter but charged back behind LaVine, whose 7 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 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 because of left hamstring tightness. –

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