The first two games of the opening round of the playoffs between the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls were two completely different affairs. The first game belonged to the Nets 106-89, while the Bulls claimed game two 90-82. The biggest difference from game one to game two: points in the paint.
Game One: Nets 106 Bulls 89
In the first major playoff game in Brooklyn since October 10, 1956, Deron Williams continued his hot second half play as he helped lead the Nets to a 109-86 victory in game one. Williams scored 22 points and dished out 7 dimes. Brook Lopez was right behind Williams in scoring with 21 points and pulled down five rebounds.
Along with Williams and Lopez, the Nets got double-digit contributions from six players and shot 60 percent as a team. Joe Johnson scored 16 points, Gerald Wallace and C.J. Watson scored 14 apiece, and Andray Blatche added 12. Brooklyn never trailed in the game.
The stat that separated the two teams was points in the paint, where the Nets outscored Chicago 56-36 and the Bulls did themselves no favors by missing 17 shots.
Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 25 points, Luol Deng struggled as he shot 3-11 for six points and Nate Robinson scored eight points off the bench. Jimmy Butler and Marco Belinelli added 13 points apiece.
Game Two: Bulls 90 Nets 82
Game two was an entirely different story than game one. Tom Thibodeau made some defensive adjustments that worked to perfection. The battle of the paint was won by Chicago 42-30.
Chicago held the Nets to 11 third quarter points and Brooklyn managed to make only 2-19 field goals in the quarter.
In game one, the battle of the paint was won by Brooklyn, but in game two they were not as effective, shooting 15-36 down low. The shooting woes weren’t only in the paint, but from behind the arc as well. The Nets shot a miserable 4-21 from the three-point line.
The Bulls got great contributions from Deng (15 points, 10 rebounds), Boozer (13 points, 12 rebounds), Robinson (11 points) and Noah, who scored 11 points and corralled 10 caroms, all while playing with plantar fasciitis.
Lopez led the way for Brooklyn with another solid game of 21 points and five rebounds, but the Bulls defense held Wallace, Johnson, and Williams to 27 points on 8-34 shooting, including 3-13 from beyond the arc. Johnson led the trio with 17 points on 6-18 and Williams scored eight points and handed out 10 assists, but only shot 1-9. Wallace scored two points on 1-7 shooting.
Game Three Preview
The Nets and Bulls will resume play Thursday night in Chicago. The first two games have gone to the team that won the battle of the paint and will likely be the trend of the series. The key to the Nets winning is whether or not Deron Williams can bounce back from a lackluster game. In order for the Bulls to win, they will once again have to turn it up on the defensive end and get contributions from everyone.