Brooklyn Nets: Luol Deng
April, 22, 2013
By Mike Mazzeo | ESPNNewYork.com
The Brooklyn Nets had no answer for the Chicago Bulls’ tenacious defense.
And just like that, we’re even.
The Nets shot just 35.4 percent from the field and went four for 21 from 3-point range in a 90-82 loss to the Bulls in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Monday night at Barclays Center.
The best-of-seven series is now tied 1-1.
Brooklyn shot 55.8 percent and committed just eight turnovers in its 106-89 victory in Game 1. Well, the Bulls adjusted, making things tough for the Nets (12 turnovers, outscored 42-30 in the paint) on seemingly every possession. And Brooklyn failed to match Chicago’s sense of urgency from the opening tip.
Consider this a missed opportunity for the Nets.
M.I.A.: Deron Williams (one for nine from the field, zero for five from 3-point range with eight points and 10 assists) and Joe Johnson (six for 18, 15 points), Brooklyn’s $190 million starting backcourt, combined to go seven for 27 from the field. D-Will missed his first six shots, while Johnson disappeared in the second and third quarters. Iso Joe hit a pair of 3-pointers to get the Nets within four in the final period but couldn’t hit a third to make it a one-point game. Williams and Johnson combined for 38 points in Game 1.
CRASH VS. DENG: Gerald Wallace, who scored 14 points in Game 1, scored just two in Game 2 on 1-for-7 shooting. Wallace got in foul trouble because of a questionable second personal, which probably should’ve counted as a block. Luol Deng, who went three for 11 in Game 1, had a team-high 15 points and 10 rebounds in Game 2.
THE GOOD: Brook Lopez had 21 points and five rebounds. He probably sat too long to begin the fourth quarter. C.J. Watson was arguably the best Net of the night, notching 10 points off the bench against his former club.
THIRD IS THE BAD WORD: Things fell apart for Brooklyn in the third quarter. No surprise there. The Nets, who have struggled all season coming out of halftime, missed their first seven shots of the period -- and went two for 19 from the field overall. Meanwhile, the Bulls were able to extend the lead to as many as 12. In all, Chicago outscored Brooklyn 24-11 in the third.
COULD’VE BEEN WORSE: The Nets shot 57.1 percent in the second quarter and trailed just 47-46 at the half, thanks to Watson’s corner 3-pointer that beat the buzzer. Brooklyn got down by as many as seven before rallying back when their big three returned midway through the period. Lopez had 10 points in the second, as he found a sweet spot from about 19 feet away at the top of the key.
U-G-L-Y: The Nets trailed only 20-17 after the first quarter despite turning the ball over six times -- they had just eight turnovers in Game 1 -- and not converting their first field goal until the 6:48 mark. Overall, the Nets went six for 18 from the field in the first as the Bulls ratcheted up their defensive intensity. Brooklyn led 25-14 after one in Game 1.
T’D UP: Nets assistant Popeye Jones got a technical foul in the third quarter for arguing that the shot clock shouldn’t have been reset during a Bulls’ offensive possession, which resulted in a Joakim Noah bucket. Speaking of Noah, he looked much better on the court after playing just 13 minutes in Game 1. Despite a foot injury, he finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes in Game 2 and made several clutch plays down the stretch.
WHO’S IN THE HOUSE? Mikhail Prokhorov, Justin Tuck and Michael Strahan.
UP NEXT: Game 3 is on Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. ET at the United Center.