Bulls Wipe Out Nets, 95-78

first_imgNEW 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 Dec. 25.“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.Another three-point play by Butler made it 66-52. “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 5½-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.”What once was viewed as a Christmas Day showdown between Eastern Conference contenders became a match-up of two of the NBA’s biggest disappointments so far, as both teams have been plagued by injuries.Deron Williams scored 18 points and Mizra Teletovic added 17 for the Nets, who have lost four straight.“I’m surprised at this season, how it’s played out altogether,” Williams said. “It’s like a nightmare the way the injuries have been, the things we talk about every day, the lack of effort, the lack of energy.”The victory was Chicago’s second straight, the first time since five consecutive wins from Nov. 8-18 that the Bulls had two in a row. Chicago is starting to get healthy with the return Hinrich and Butler, both of whom started.Hinrich spurred a 12-0 run midway through the second quarter that gave Chicago a 39-31 lead. Williams then scored seven straight to make it a one-point game. Chicago led 41-38 at the half before Butler took over.“It’s good to get guys back,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Our starters were very solid and our bench guys did a great job. Taj was super.”The Bulls were still missing Luol Deng (Achilles) and Derrick Rose, who is sidelined for the season with a right knee injury.Brooklyn has its own injury issues with center Brook Lopez lost for the season Dec. 20 to a broken right foot.“We talk about it a lot. We’re really trying to figure out what it is. It’s tough,” Teletovic said of the Nets’ struggles. “A lot of NBA teams aren’t going to give you anything easy. You really have to concentrate and bring a lot of energy to win the game.”The two clubs were wearing their Christmas short-sleeve jerseys that look straight out of a rec league game. Instead of numbers and a team name on the front, there was a big shiny logo. There are numbers on the sleeves, while the backs look more like a normal NBA jersey.Both squads were also wearing striped socks to complete the outfit.(Doug Feinberg, AP Basketball Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Ben Stokes, amid legal battle, sends out emotional message for England

first_imgAbsent all-rounder Ben Stokes sent best wishes to his England team-mates, in particular debutant batsman Ollie Pope, ahead of the second Test against India at Lord’s on Thursday.Stokes is standing trial at Bristol Crown Court accused of knocking out two other men outside a nightclub in the southwest English city in September last year.Stokes on Thursday, wished his colleagues well in a Twitter message accompanied by an Instagram photograph of all-rounder Sam Curran, like Pope a 20-year-old Surrey star, celebrating a wicket.Ben Stokes ‘mocked gay men’ before Bristol pub brawl: Prosecutor”Good luck to all the englandcricket lads today and for the rest of the week, always exciting seeing guys get there first opportunity, hope it goes for you well for you @opope32 #loveengland” wrote Stokes.Good luck to all the englandcricket lads today and for the rest of the week,always exciting seeing guys get there first opportunity,hope it goes for you well for you @opope32 #loveengland https://t.co/7y4yb2sLneBen Stokes (@benstokes38) August 9, 2018Prosecutors say Stokes was the “main aggressor” in a fight that broke out after an England match. The 27-year-old however, has denied the charge against him.India vs England: Ollie Pope to debut in Lord’s Test, says Joe RootadvertisementBut in a statement provided to police and heard in court Wednesday, Stokes said he only stepped in after hearing two men being homophobic toward two other men.Stokes said “matters had become too serious to ignore and that I had to intervene.”Stokes himself is accused of earlier mocking the gay men outside the club and flicking a cigarette butt at them. Stokes denies taunting them, telling police they “thanked me for preventing them from being beaten up.”His absence will be a big blow for England in the second Test at Lord’s which is yet to begin due to relentless rain in London.Stokes is in good form with the ball after having taken 3 wickets in the first Test as the hosts completed a 31-run win at Edgbaston on Sunday to go 1-0 up in a five-match series.England captain Joe Root confirmed on Wednesday that 20-year-old Surrey batsman Pope would make his debut at Lord’s in place of the dropped Dawid Malan.(With agency inputs)last_img read more