CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Taj Gibson scored 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting and the Chicago Bulls beat Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats 105-75 Friday night.
With Jordan looking on from the end of the Charlotte bench, the Bulls jumped out to a 38-19 lead midway through the second quarter and never looked back. Jordan, the Bobcats’ owner and former Bulls star, left his seat with about 3 minutes left in the first half and didn’t return.
The Bulls had failed to score 100 points in their previous six games and were held to 67 by Miami on Thursday night, but found their groove against the NBA-worst Bobcats.
Carlos Boozer had 10 points and 10 rebounds as eight Bulls finished in double figures.
Luol Deng added 14 points, Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli and Richard Hamilton all had 12, and Joakim Noah finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
Kemba Walker had 27 points to lead Charlotte, which shot 33 percent from the field. It was the 10th time this season the Bobcats lost by 20 or more points.
The Bulls had lost five of their last seven games, including a 19-point rout at home to the Heat on Thursday. But it was the Bobcats who looked as though they were on the tail end of a back-to-back.
Charlotte shot just 31 percent from the field in the first half and trailed 51-37 at the break.
The Bulls played with energy from the start, forcing four quick turnovers to build an early 10-point lead they never relinquished.
Chicago scored 52 points in the paint and shot 51 percent from the field to win going away. The Bulls committed only six turnovers in a dominating performance against the outmatched Bobcats.
Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist finished with 10 points and seven rebounds for Charlotte.
Bobcats center Byron Mullens came in averaging 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds over the past nine games, but was held to two points on 1-of-12 shooting and had just four rebounds.
Charlotte’s three highest-paid players — Ben Gordon ($12.4 million), Tyrus Thomas ($8 million) and Gana Diop ($7.4 million) — didn’t play.
Gordon had been a regular reserve but fell out of favor with coach Mike Dunlap before the All-Star break after being disruptive in practice. The team attempted to trade him but was unable to unload his contract.
Gordon is due $13 million next season, while Thomas is under contract for the next two years at $8.7 million and $9.4 million.
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