CHICAGO (AP) — Jannero Pargo scored a season-high 27 points, and Taj Gibson had a career-high 22 points and added 13 rebounds to help the Chicago Bulls beat the New Jersey Nets 106-83 on Saturday night.
The Bulls were coming off a 29-point home loss to Miami on Thursday night and had lost 11 of their last 13 games, but were able to take advantage of the NBA-worst Nets.
A night after the Nets eliminated any chance of setting a record for fewest wins in a season by beating Detroit for their second straight victory, they fell behind by 21 points in the second quarter.
The lone bright spot for the Nets came when Jarvis Hayes scored the first nine points of the third quarter on three consecutive 3-pointers to cut the Bulls lead to 53-46, but the Bulls quickly pulled away for good with a 10-0 run. Pargo led the run, hitting a 3 to give the Bulls a 63-46 lead with 7:10 left in the third quarter.
Brad Miller had 14 points and six rebounds, and Hakim Warrick added 10 points for the Bulls, 1½ games behind Toronto for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Hayes finished with 14 points, and Terrence Williams led the Nets with 16 points.
Chicago was without injured forwards Luol Deng and James Johnson. Deng missed his eighth straight game with a calf injury, and Johnson, who was starting in Deng's place, was out with plantar fasciitis. Joakim Noah played limited minutes as he recovers from plantar fasciitis, but the injury didn't slow him down. He keyed a number of Bulls' fast breaks in the third quarter and had dunks over Brooke Lopez and Kris Humphries.
With the injuries, Gibson picked up his play. He scored 14 points and had six rebounds in the first quarter and ended the half with 16 points. Pargo made a rare start and contributed 14 points in the first half. He made back-to-back jumpers during an 11-0 run in the second quarter.
NOTES: Johnson's status is unknown for Sunday's afternoon game at Detroit. ... Pargo made his fifth start of the season. ... New Jersey interim head coach Kiki Vandeweghe caught a couple of minutes of the West Virginia-Kentucky game in the media room just minutes before tip-off, presumably to watch Kentucky freshman guard John Wall. ... Harris was called for a technical from the Nets' bench for apparently arguing with officials.