Game 2 · April 22, 2013 · Barclays Center · Brooklyn
Ben Couch · BROOKLYNNETS.COM
By Ben Couch
BROOKLYN—Monday at Barclays Center, the Nets lost to the Bulls, 90-82. Brook Lopez led Brooklyn with 21 points (7-14 FGs, 7-8 FTs); Deron Williams, with a game-high 10 assists.
This was Game Two of a seven-game First Round series that is tied, 1-1. Game Three will take place Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET) in Chicago at United Center.
FINAL: Bulls 90, Nets 82
Tonight's game began at the Bulls' pace, but the Nets were able to shake off the slog and close the gap in the second quarter behind Lopez's 10 points – well above his 3.5 PPG average in that period during the regular season – and C.J. Watson's buzzer-beating three. When the Bulls again exited the locker room with defensive intensity ratcheted up to 11, the Nets went without a field goal for the opening 5:25 of the half.
That Deron Williams jumper tipped off a mid-quarter flurry (five points in 50 seconds) that couldn't be sustained, and the lack of offense – nine points in as many minutes – undermined a comeback effort; the Bulls' lead grew to double-digits. Brooklyn finished the period trailing by 12, having scored just 11 points on 2-of-19 shooting.
Chicago opened the fourth with a driving layup by Marco Belinelli, but Kris Humphries responded with a jumper. When Andray Blatche followed with one of his own two possessions later, it seemed a run could be percolating. As Brooklyn began accumulating stops while also attacking the basket, the lead shrank to five after a step-back jumper by Blatche capped a 9-0 run.
Joakim Noah's dunk put the Bulls back on the board, and a Nets' miss was followed by a Bulls second-chance three, stretching the lead to 10. And then there was Joe: back-to-back threes for the two guard who's owned the fourth quarter all season. Four-point game.
But a third didn't fall, and the rising crowd fell back to their seats. Brooklyn exchanged several baskets with Chicago, getting good ball movement while playing Lopez and Blatche alongside each other. Without stops, the Nets could gain no ground as the Bulls closed out a 90-82 victory to even the series.
HALFTIME: Bulls 47, Nets 46
Following an off day of adjustments, the Nets and Bulls took the floor for Game Two of their First Round series, with Brooklyn ready to match the intensity Chicago was vowing to bring following a loss in Saturday's opener.
On the game's first possession, Gerald Wallace anticipated a pass to Luol Deng, whom Wallace has frustrated with strong defense this season, stepping in front of the Bulls forward and drawing a foul as he raced upcourt with the steal. But Chicago recovered to force a turnover of their own, and Deng swished a jumper to open the scoring.
From there, the Bulls ground the Nets' offense into a speed-sucking slog, forcing Brooklyn into full-shot-clock possessions that ended with turnovers or misses ... until an acrobatic drive by Wallace dropped in; the Nets' first field goal came five minutes into the game. But Chicago again couldn't generate effective offense, connecting on just .409 of their shot attempts and committing six turnovers of their own.
Brooklyn steadily chipped at the lead, drawing within three by the end of the period. The Bulls began leaking out in transition, leading to several buckets on the move for Luol Deng, who quickly surpassed the six points he totaled in Game One, finishing the half with 11 points (5-12 FGs), 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Extended minutes for the bench gave the Nets' starters a breather, with four of the five reserves each scoring during the 5 1/2-minute stretch.
When Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson returned, Brooklyn immediately embarked on a 72-second, 6-0 run to make it a one-point game. The teams began trading baskets, until Lopez broke a 37-all tie with his third straight jumper to give the Nets their first lead of the evening. Though the Bulls quickly retook the lead, a late steal left Williams feeding backup PG C.J. Watson in the corner just before the buzzer; his three swished.
Visit Nets Playoff Central for more on Nets vs. Bulls.
Brooklyn Nets (1-1)
|G · Deron Williams||G · Joe Johnson||F · Gerald Wallace||F · Reggie Evans||C · Brook Lopez|
Chicago Bulls (1-1)
|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.
Kirk Hinrich (left thigh) is DAY-TO-DAY.
Joakim Noah (right foot) is DAY-TO-DAY.
Vladimir Radmanovic (back) is DAY-TO-DAY.
For more, view the Game Photo Gallery
|21 PTS, 5 REB, 3 BLK
7-14 FGs, 7-8
|"They had a gameplan and they stuck to it tonight. They contested every shot, pass and cut. They played Chicago defense."|