- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW YORK -- Luol Deng played his worst game of the season in Game 1 on Saturday night -- scoring just six points and struggling defensively on Gerald Wallace -- but he has already put that performance behind him.
"I've had bad games before," Deng said. "It's nothing new. You never go out there and try to have a bad game on purpose. I thought the game got out of hand early, should have stayed aggressive but kind of tried to play our way back into it.
"But that's one game; it's not the first time I ever played that way. They won the first game at home. It doesn't really matter how they won. It's about the corrections that we make. Whether they won by one or won by a lot, I think for us as a team we know we could be a lot better and we'll be a lot better in the next game."
Deng doesn't believe he has to try anything differently as he prepares for Game 2 on Monday night.
"I don't call it a slump," he said. "I had a bad game. I don't have to do anything. I had a bad game, it happens."
Gibson enjoying being back: Brooklyn native Taj Gibson is happy to be back in the playoffs at home but he has noticed something different about some of his friends' allegiances lately.
"It's crazy," he said of being back home. "It's a distraction but I have good teammates around me. I hardly leave the hotel, and my family understands that. But Brooklyn, I don't know, they're coming out of nowhere, these fans. I didn't know they really had a strong fan base like that. A lot of my friends done turned against me. So hopefully I can prove some wrong."
As far as the game goes, Gibson is confident he will be able to do a better job of slowing down Nets center, and fellow Pac-12 alum, Stanford's Brook Lopez.
"I've been guarding him since college," Gibson said. "I had to guard him for two years at USC just by myself so I feel I'll be able to guard him. It's just a matter of me moving my feet."
Play D: In Jimmy Butler's mind, there's a simple solution for the Bulls as they head into Game 2.
"Play defense," he said. "We didn't play any type of defense. They got whatever they wanted. They were the aggressor on both ends of the floor. Offense, defense, they were just tougher than we were, I guess you could say that."
Where did the Nets excel most?
"They had so many points in the paint, it was ridiculous," he said. "They got the ball wherever they wanted to on the floor and then they were just being aggressive at the rim, getting to the line, drawing fouls, everybody saw it."