One night after going 0-for-13 against Toronto in a dismal shooting performance, Carter bounced back with 39 points on an 11-for-22 effort from the field. He dunked on New Jersey's first possession and beat the buzzer at the end of the first half with a halfcourt shot, but the Nets lost their third straight.
"You knew he was going to come out and look to be aggressive and that's exactly what he did. He had a great game, but fortunately we had a balanced enough attack to kind of stymie whatever he was able to do," Gordon said.
Carter deflected the attention off of him after the game.
"It wasn't about me. It was about us trying to get a win," said Carter, who attacked the basket from the start. "I just wanted to set the tone more than anything. The main thing was aggressiveness. It really wasn't the dunk or anything like that, just wanted to stay aggressive and make plays for the team."
Chicago got help from its young front line, who had been inconsistent all season.
Thomas and Noah both have struggled to get playing time under first-year coach Vinny Del Negro.
"When they have games like this there is no question they're difference makers and they can help you win games and that's what they did tonight," Del Negro said.
Gordon broke a 96-all tie with a 3-pointer in transition with 2:47 left. Rose later slashed through the lane for a basket to give the Bulls a 103-98 lead with 1:23 left.
Rose stepped up his play in the second half after being outplayed by the Nets' Devin Harris. Rose finished with six assists and six rebounds.
"He's a good veteran guard. He is quick, he pushes the ball, finds open teammates. He's tough," Rose said.
The Nets lost hope of coming back when Harris had a turnover with 1:10 left. He argued the call and was assessed a technical.
Harris finished with 22 points and seven assists. Carter and Harris were a combined 24-of-25 from the free throw line.
Harris was impressed with Rose.
"He's a solid player. He reminds me a lot of myself. We did a lot of the same things," Harris said. "I think he is going to be a great player."
Trailing 82-75, the Bulls got back into the game with a 12-2 run early in the fourth quarter. Thomas finished off Larry Hughes' pass with a dunk, then made two free throws to give Chicago an 87-84 lead.
Carter and the Nets squandered a 23-8 lead in the first quarter, but closed out the first half in spectacular fashion. Trailing 42-38, the Nets outscored the Bulls 12-0 late in the second quarter to take a 50-42 lead. They were ahead 60-48 at the break after Carter's heave at the buzzer.
Carter scored 18 points in the half on 6-of-11 shooting and Harris had 15 points and four assists. Gordon led the Bulls with 12 points in the half.
Thomas, who has been getting limited playing time, scored eight points and had four rebounds in the first half before hyperextending his neck late in the second quarter. He did return late in the third quarter. ... Net F Jarvis Hayes was inactive with a hamstring injury. ... Chicago's bench outscored New Jersey's 37-12.