Unlike other teams at the top of the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Bulls actually let their starters get some playing time in a 97-92 victory over the visiting New Jersey Nets in Wednesday's regular season finale.
Derrick Rose scored 15 points in 30 minutes and Joakim Noah added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls (62-20), who clinched the top spot in the East last week and earned home court throughout the NBA postseason when San Antonio lost in Phoenix later Wednesday night. Chicago begins its playoff run at home Saturday against the eighth-seeded Indiana Pacers.
Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau did let the bench do most of the heavy lifting in the fourth quarter, and Kyle Korver responded with 10 of his 19 points in the frame.
The Nets held an 84-78 edge with 5:47 left before C.J. Watson and Korver drained back-to-back 3-pointers to spark a 10-2 surge. New Jersey rallied to take the lead, 90-89, on Brook Lopez’s jumper with 1:01 left, but Rasual Butler buried another 3-pointer at the other end to put the Bulls up for good.
Jordan Farmar collected 21 points and 12 assists for the Nets (24-58), who finished the season dropping five straight games.