Bench carries Nets past banged-up Bulls, 93-89

The Brooklyn Nets kept going deeper down their bench to find a winning combination. The Chicago Bulls simply had nowhere to go.

Brook Lopez scored 20 points through three quarters, then the Nets turned to their bench to beat the short-handed Bulls 93-89 on Friday night.

With most of their best players in street clothes, the Bulls’ normally sturdy defense allowed the Nets to make 11 of 18 shots in the fourth quarter. Nine of the baskets were by reserves.

”It’s huge, especially when a lot of our starters didn’t have it going tonight,” Nets guard Deron Williams said. ”It was good that those guys came in and stepped up for us. Without them, we don’t win this game.”

Andray Blatche scored all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter and MarShon Brooks had nine of his 13 as the reserves scored the Nets’ first 20 points. A starter didn’t score until Joe Johnson’s 3-pointer gave Brooklyn an 86-80 lead with 2 minutes to play…

Johnson finished with 13 points for the Nets, who bounced back from a loss to Miami on Wednesday by beating another top Eastern Conference team.

Luol Deng scored 18 points and Taj Gibson had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Bulls, who played without starters Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Kirk Hinrich while losing for just the third time in 11 games…

Nate Robinson had 12 points and 11 assists but shot just 4 of 16 in place of Hinrich, who returned to Chicago to get his right elbow examined. Marco Belinelli scored 18 points and Jimmy Butler had 12 off Chicago’s bench.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press