Published March 04, 2014
Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Deron Williams had 20 points, Joe Johnson scored 19 and the Brooklyn Nets rolled to a 96-80 win over the red-hot Chicago Bulls on Monday.
Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston added 14 points apiece for the Nets, who returned from a 4-3 road trip to win their third straight game.
The Nets hadn't played at home in 19 days, so Monday's game was the Barclays Center debut of Jason Collins, who became the NBA's first active openly gay player in a Feb. 23 game in Los Angeles.
Collins got a standing ovation when he checked into the game with 2:41 left. His Brooklyn debut came amid reports Collins, 35, would sign a second 10-day contract with the team.
Brooklyn was without Kevin Garnett for the second straight game because of back spasms but still snapped a four-game losing streak to Chicago.
D.J. Augustin had 16 points off the bench and Jimmy Butler scored 13 to lead the Bulls, who had a four-game winning streak snapped, losing for just the second time in their last 11.
"We're disappointed...but you got to bounce back," said Joakim Noah, who was limited to 10 points and six rebounds.
Chicago's loss means neither team has swept the season series since the New Jersey Nets won all four games in 2004-05. The Bulls had won the first two meetings this season.
The Nets led by as many as 15 in the first half. Pierce's 3 to open the third quarter sparked a 7-0 run that stretched their eight-point halftime lead back to 15.
Brooklyn's lead reached 17 going into the fourth quarter and the Bulls got only as close as nine after an Augustin 3 from the left corner capped a 7-0 run.
"Defensively, I thought we were at our best," Williams said.
The Nets also scored the first seven points of the game and opened with a 14-3 run over the first five-plus minutes. Livingston had six points during the surge and Brooklyn's lead ballooned to 15 points later on.
The Nets led 27-18 going into the second quarter. Chicago cut its deficit to three points late in the half but Johnson scored seven straight points after that and Brooklyn took a 50-42 lead into the break.
Brooklyn has won five in a row at home and is 12-2 in its last 14 at Barclays Center ... The Nets remain at home to play Memphis on Wednesday ... The Bulls play on the road at Detroit on Wednesday.