The Chicago Bulls returned to their roots in game 2 against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday. After being easily dispersed by the Nets in game 1 of the series on Saturday, the Bulls rebounded nicely with a 90-82 victory over the Nets on Monday.
After being heavily criticized after their game 1 performance, the Bulls’ starting five was much more productive against the Nets on Monday. Luol Deng was the top performer for the Bulls as the small forward scored 15 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 4 assists. Joakim Noah was much more effective for the Bulls in game 2 by compiling a double-double with 11 points scored and 10 rebounds collected. Carlos Boozer also had a double-double of his own by scoring 13 points to go along with 12 rebounds. Point guard Kirk Hinrich was effective by scoring 13 points, meanwhile, Jimmy Butler scored 5 points. Nate Robinson was the leading bench scorer for the Bulls by scoring 11 points off the bench.
For Nets, it was a completely different story than the one told on Saturday. Nets’ point guard Deron Williams was resigned to a facilitator role by dishing out 10 assists while only scoring 8 points. Brook Lopez was the leading scorer for the Nets as the center scored 21 points. Joe Johnson added 17 points for the Nets. Where the Bulls were successful on Monday was limiting the impacts of Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans. Wallace scored 2 points on Monday after scoring 14 against the Bulls on Saturday. Whereas, Evans was limited to 8 rebounds on Monday after his 13-rebound performance on Saturday.
The Bulls had a one point lead as the teams entered half-time, however, it was in the third quarter that the team distanced themselves from the Nets. The Bulls outscored the Nets 22-11 in the third quarter, and that ultimately was the difference in the game. If the Bulls are going to win this series against the Nets, the team will need to show the same defensive effort that they did on Monday. Deron Williams needs to be forced to a facilitator role as opposed to letting his offensive ability take control of the game. If the Bulls can do so, then the team will significantly limit what the Nets can do offensively.
Game 3 is Thursday as the series heads to the United Center.