The only way the Chicago Bulls are going to win against anyone in the postseason is by playing their kind of basketball – which means clawing, scratching, hustling, fighting and doing everything that’s not considered a measurable attribute in the sport. With Joakim Noah getting more minutes this time, their brand of basketball was managed to steal home court in game 2.
Noah was back, playing more than double his minutes in the first game, which changed the look of the Bulls’ defense completely. Brook Lopez did go off for 21 points, but the penetration lanes for Deron Williams were closed, while Reggie Evans and Gerlad Wallace struggled to keep up with the jumping bodies and flailing arms of the Bulls’ players.
The third quarter seemed to be the lowest point for the Nets as they went on to lose 82-90, shooting a terrible 2-19 from the field, 10.5%. This is their second worst postseason quarter in history, following a 6.7% quarter from 2007 against LeBron James and the Cavs.
The Bulls became the first team to win a road game in this postseason with the only way they knew how – defense, defense, defense. Luol Deng finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Carlos Boozer had 13 points and 12, while both Butler and Deng did an excellent job on Joe Johnson, who did score 17 points, but needed 18 field goal attempts to reach that mark, hitting only a third of his shots. Deron Williams did a lot worse, finishing with only 1-9 from the field, good enough for 8 points.
It was ugly in Game 1 for the Bulls, scoring 89 points and losing by 17, and it wasn’t a whole of a lot different in Game 2. They shot only 25% from beyond the arc and there wasn’t a moment in the game when it looked like beautiful, flowing basketball. This isn’t the team for it.
However, they did keep the Nets at only 35.4% from the field, quite subdued, along with the fans, who weren’t into the encounter from the first moment, wasting all their energy on the first game, or so it seemed. When your three perimeter players combine to shoot 8-34 from the field, while the Bulls have only two players under .500, it’s not going to work.
The rest of the road? This is what it’s going to have to look like for the Bulls in each game. Making it impossible for Deron Williams to develop any sort of rhythm, and hope that Brook Lopez and Reggie Evans get worn down as the series progresses, with the Bulls having a deeper team when it comes to their options in the paint. It’s not going to be pretty, and if it is, it probably means the Bulls are losing.