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Nets' challenge: Don't let Bulls get even

4/22/2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams says the Chicago Bulls are probably going to play Monday's Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals with a sense of urgency.

The Bulls essentially have their backs against the wall because they don't want to go down 2-0 in the series. So it's up to the Nets to match their opponent's urgency and not allow Chicago to steal one on the road.

"The even-numbered games are the hard games to get ready for," Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said before Sunday's practice. "When one team has that advantage, which is usually the even-numbered games, that's a hard one. Often times, the desperation level decides the game. You've still gotta play, but if one team wants it a little more or is a little desperate, that sometimes carries those even-numbered games."

The Nets scored 106 points on 55.8 percent shooting in their Game 1 victory. It's unlikely that the Bulls, who ranked fifth in defensive efficiency during the regular season, are going to allow that to happen again.

"Thibs is not a good coach, he's a great coach," Carlesimo said of Chicago's Tom Thibodeau. "They're going to make adjustments. Their guys are coming to come in frothing at the mouth tomorrow. We need to play like we're down 0-1, not up 1-0, and that's always the challenge in these even-numbered games."

"We know that their defense is going to be a lot better this game," Williams said. "We know to expect that, so we have to continue to work offensively to get open, to execute and to be disciplined.

"We need to win this game. We need to protect home court -- that's what we're supposed to do -- and then give ourselves a chance to win one [in Chicago]."

The Nets were able to feed off the capacity crowd at Barclays Center in Game 1. And many of their players, Williams included, hadn't appeared in a playoff game for a while.

"The first one's easy. You're ready for it. The fans are excited, you're excited," Williams said. "This one is going to be the one to see where we're at, if we have that same energy, play with that same pace that we did in Game 1."

Added center Brook Lopez: "We can't have a letdown. It was electric in the arena the other night, so ... it was easy to get up for it. It's gonna be important that we come out with an even higher sense of focus and sense of urgency."

The Nets played a nearly flawless game Saturday night. One thing Carlesimo would improve?

"I thought we defended very well in the first half and very poorly in the second half," he said.