NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets sure missed that home cookin’.
Playing at the Barclays Center for the first time since Feb. 12, the Nets beat up on the Chicago Bulls 96-80 on Monday night to improve to 12-2 in their past 14 at their Brooklyn arena.
What it means: The Nets (29-29) reached the .500 mark for the first time since Nov. 5 (2-2). They had lost their previous two games against the Bulls this season by an average of 17 points. Not this time.
The Nets beat the Bulls at their own game, grinding it out on the defense end, collecting a season-high 19 steals and turning a season-high 28 Chicago turnovers into 30 points.
Joe Johnson, who had been shooting just 32.1 percent in his previous five games due in large part to injury, led the way for Brooklyn with 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field. Deron Williams added 20 points -- 14 in the second half -- and six assists, while Shaun Livingston chipped in 14 points and five steals. Paul Pierce stuffed the stat sheet to the tune of 14 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals.
The Nets led by as many as 17.
Ja-son Col-lins!: Late in the fourth quarter, the fans chanted for Jason Collins, and they got Jason Collins. Collins made his home debut with 2:41 left. The fans gave him a standing ovation. Collins missed a jumper in the closing seconds. The crowd groaned.
Up next: The Nets practice in Brooklyn on Tuesday before facing the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night at home.