Gordon, Bulls finally hold lead, rout NetsApr 7, 2007 - 7:02 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Ben Gordon was not going to let the Chicago Bulls lose another large lead to the New Jersey Nets.
Gordon scored 27 points and Luol Deng added 24 and 12 rebounds as the Bulls routed the Nets, 105-74.
Kirk Hinrich had 20 points and five assists and reserve Chris Duhon added 12 points for Chicago (46-31), which maintained its tie with Cleveland (46-31) for second place in the Eastern Conference.
"We are now approaching every game like it is a playoff game," Gordon said. "We have to keep ourselves geared up."
Both the Bulls and the Cavaliers are three games behind idle Detroit in the Central Division with five games left.
It was also the Bulls's first win vs. the Nets after blowing 18-point leads in two games earlier in 2006-07. Chicago led New Jersey, 18-0, before suffering a 91-86 loss on January 5. Six days later, the Bulls led the Nets, 55-37, in the third quarter before coughing up the lead and losing, 86-83.
"We talked about losing those leads before the game," Gordon said. "We talked about that all during the game. Our focus was when we got the lead to not let them back in the game."
In this game, Chicago led by 11 after the first quarter, 15 at halftime and 19 entering the fourth before outscoring New Jersey, 24-12, in the final 12 minutes.
"We played very well," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "We moved the ball and the defense was good. We made them miss a lot of shots."
Gordon connected on 9-of-18 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range, for the Bulls, who have won six of their last seven games.
"We did a great job of finishing the game tonight and not giving up the lead," Hinrich said.
Vince Carter scored 21 points for the Nets, who shot a miserable 34 percent (26-of-76) compared to Chicago's 46 percent (40-of-87).
"We had some good looks early and we missed them," Carter said. "Then they just jumped out on us and we were just playing catch up the rest of the night."
Richard Jefferson was the only other New Jersey player to score double digits with only 11 points.
"They play extremely well at home," Nets guard Jason Kidd said. "We had looks but couldn't get it on track. They we just the better team tonight."
The Nets (35-40) are now just one game ahead of idle Orlando (34-41) for seventh place in the East.
"This was only one game but it was very disappointing," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "If you give up the number of middle drives we did, the number of loose balls we did, and have the inability to execute on the offense end like we did, you will get out played in every facet of the game and we did."
NEW JERSEY 74
CHICAGO 105 FINAL
Apr 6 10:50 PM
NEW JERSEY 62
CHICAGO 81 END, 3RD QTR
Apr 6 10:21 PM
NEW JERSEY 38
CHICAGO 53 HALFTIME
Apr 6 9:38 PM
NEW JERSEY 20
CHICAGO 31 END, 1ST QTR
Apr 6 9:07 PM
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