The Chicago Bulls defeated the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas day by the score of 95-78. The win was their second straight after a four-game losing streak. The Bulls improved their record to 11-16, third in the Cnetral Division. The Bulls won without the services of Luol Deng.
Rotoworld.com reported a tweet by Bulls' announcer Chuck Swirsky, confirming that Deng was out prior to Wendesday's game against the Nets. The good news is that Jimmy Butler (ankle) and Kirk Hinrich (back) returned to the starting lineup. Butler, particularly, was a key contributor in the blowout win.
Butler played 33 minutes and lead all starters with 15 points, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range. He also added 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Taj Gibson game off the bench to score 20 in 28 minutes and D.J. Augustin added 13. The Bulls had balanced scoring with six players in double figures. With Leng out of the lineup, the Bulls will need to continue to get balanced production in order to succeed.
Leng is the Bulls' leading scorer at 19.6 points per game. Although drafted in the first round in 2004 by the Phoenix Suns, he's played his entire career with the Bulls. Last season Deng averaged 16.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. In 634 career games, Leng has started 588 and is averaging 16.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.