Game 1 · April 20, 2013 · Barclays Center · Brooklyn
Ben Couch · BROOKLYNNETS.COM
By Ben Couch
BROOKLYN—Saturday at Barclays Center, the Nets blew out the Chicago Bulls, 106-89, in Game One of the First Round. Deron Williams led a balanced Brooklyn effort with 22 points (9-15 FGs) and 7 assists. Brook Lopez added 21 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocked shots; Reggie Evans had a game-high 13 boards.
Game Two of the seven-game series will take place Monday at 8 p.m.
After 57 years, following a flurry of offseason action, a coaching change and 49 victories, playoff basketball returned to Brooklyn on Saturday, and in spectacular fashion, with the Nets blowing out the Bulls, 106-89.
From the effusive support for Jerry Stackhouse's deft delivery of the National Anthem on through the Blackout in Brooklyn intro and a spontaneous "Broooook-lynnnn!" chant during the quiet moments, fans at the Barclays Center showed they were prepared for the opportunity. They booed the Bulls through their entire opening possession and chanted "De-fense!" throughout the others.
As expected for a playoff game, Chicago center Joakim Noah shook off plantar fasciits to make the start, altering the complexion of the opening minutes. Brook Lopez's first shot was forced outside, but Reggie Evans chased down the rebound and fed Lopez underneath for a layup to open the scoring. By quarter's end, Deron Williams had shown an ability to elude Kirk Hinrich's defense, posting nine points, and Lopez racked up 12 points by attacking the basket (6-6 FTs) after a few errant jumpers.
Perhaps most importantly, the Nets' defense proved up to the playoff task, as they held Chicago to a paltry 7-of -23 (.304 FG%) shooting in the first and 15-of-41 (.366) in the half. Lopez and Gerald Wallace each blocked two shots, helping to protect the interior.
Brooklyn's "Bench Mob" second unit, anchored by Joe Johnson, opened the second quarter by maintaining the nine-point advantage until Wallace tag-teamed in for Johnson four minutes in; Williams joined a minute later and Lopez and Evans two after that.
With the starting group (mostly) reunited, the advantage grew to 17, forcing the Bulls to call timeout. C.J. Watson stayed in and caught fire, scoring 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting. The Nets connected on 14 of their final 15 attempts in the period, shooting a scorching .800 overall and piling up a 40-8 advantage on points in the paint.
Brooklyn opened the third quarter nearly as hot, connecting on 5-of-8 attempts as Wallace confidently made his first three-point attempt, significant because he admittedly began doubting his shot due to struggles throughout the post-All-Star schedule. He eventually tallied a line resembling his stat-stuffing All-Star season in Charlotte: 14 points, six rebounds, two blocks and a steal.
Though Chicago finally began breaking through on offense, they couldn't slow the Nets and spent the quarter trading baskets, leaving them down 27 when Williams stripped Luol Deng clean and threw down a double-pump reverse dunk on the break. The turnover was the Bulls' 10th, to just five for Brooklyn, a key factor considering the Nets committed 73 in the teams' four regular-season matchups (18.25 per game).
The fourth quarter provided no respite for the Bulls – Johnson took his turn to carry the offense, scoring seven points midway through and preventing Chicago from getting closer than 18. Coach P.J. Carlesimo cleared the bench in the final minute, and the Nets closed out a blowout victory in their first playoff game at Barclays Center.
Visit Nets Playoff Central for more on Nets vs. Bulls.
Brooklyn Nets (50-33)
|G · Deron Williams||G · Joe Johnson||F · Gerald Wallace||F · Reggie Evans||C · Brook Lopez|
Chicago Bulls (45-38)
|G · Kirk Hinrich||G · Jimmy Butler||F · Luol Deng||F · Carlos Boozer||C · Joakim Noah|
Derrick Rose (left knee) is OUT.
Taj Gibson (left knee) is DAY-TO-DAY.
Joakim Noah (right foot) is DAY-TO-DAY.
For more, view the Game Photo Gallery
|14 PTS, 6 REB, 2 BLK, STL
5-7 FGs, 1-3 3Ps, 3-5 FTs
|On Gerald Wallace:
"He could've been one, two or three on our top players even without scoring a point. Gerald Wallace is a warrior."