During the final weeks of the NBA regular season, many Chicago Bulls fans were clamoring for the team claim the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Bulls were successful in doing so. By securing the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, the Bulls secured a first round series against the Brooklyn Nets. A first round series against the Nets was believed to be more favorable for the Bulls than a first round series against the Indiana Pacers. However, the Nets may have something to say about that.
The Nets on Saturday proved to the Bulls that they will not be taken lightly. In game 1 against the Bulls on Saturday, the Nets were clearly the far superior by controlling the game since the opening tip and defeating the Bulls 106-89.
For the Nets, four of their starting five players scored in double-digits. Point guard Deron Williams was the top performer for the Nets by scoring 22 points including an impressive dunk to go along with 7 assists. Nets’ center Brook Lopez scored 21 points while collecting five rebounds. Former Bulls’ point guard C.J. Watson scored 14 points for the Nets while coming off the bench.
For the Bulls, Carlos Boozer was the top performer. Boozer scored 25 points for the Bulls while gathering 8 rebounds. Jimmy Butler was the only other starter for the Bulls to score in double digits as he scored 13 points while starting at the shooting guard position. Nate Robinson scored 17 points off the bench for the Bulls while Marco Belinelli added 13 points while playing off the bench.
This loss was certainly concerning for the Bulls. The Bulls will have to play one more game in Brooklyn before they return to the United Center on Thursday for game 3. Joakim Noah, who only played 13 minutes in game 1, will play in game 2. Though his impact will be limited while he deals with a foot injury. The Bulls might have been able to survive the first round without Derrick Rose, but a Bulls team that is missing Noah at full-strength seems destined for a first round exit.