TCT’s Game of the Week features #11 Ohio State going up against...
Chicago Bulls Negate Nets in Game 3 with ‘D’
The Chicago Bulls showed theirs horns, piercing deep into not only the bodies, but the minds of the Brooklyn Nets in a 79-76 victory at the United Center.
Whatever confidence Brooklyn’s Game 1 victory bestowed upon the team has vanished like a deadbeat dad going out for a pack of smokes.
Even the players are unsure of where they stand.
“I couldn’t tell you my role,” Wallace said Friday at the team hotel. “I don’t have a clue of what my role is on this team.”
It’s one thing if you’re lost in the scheme of things at the beginning of the season. Searching for answers in the first round of the playoffs can only mean Brooklyn is eyeing a first round exit at the hands of a team battered with enough injuries to collectively form a corpse or two.
Yet with a confidence-shattering dunk like this…
The Bulls are not letting the lack of available teammates bother them too much.
The Nets are stuck in the muck on the offensive end. Brooklyn shot a paltry 34.6 percent form the field, worse than Game 2′s awful 35.4 percent. It wasn’t horrid all the way through. Brooklyn jumped on Chicago early in the first quarter, shooting 5-8 form the field to grab a 17-5 lead. This looked like a Nets team possessed to erase Game 2 out of their memories.
And then it all fell apart.
The Nets missed 25 of 26 shots between 6:25 in the first quarter to 3:38 in the second quarter. No NBA team should ever go 25-26. Ever. It’s as if some spell was cast on the team by the ghosts of Johnny Kerr and Norm Van Lier resulting in a barrage of short shots, weak passes, butterfingers and brushed nets.
“We couldn’t make a shot in the paint or a three-point shot all night,” Brooklyn Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo said.
Deron Williams was held to 18 points and 4 assists while the dominant Brook Lopez finished the game with 22 points and 9 rebounds.
Despite the Bulls terrible start, Chicago took advantage of Brooklyn’s disastrous shooting by going on 14-0 run that immediately changed the face of the game.
Considering Brooklyn averaged 103.8 points per game during the last stretch of the regular season, credit the Bulls defense with shutting down a team stocked with scorers in Williams, Watson, Johnson and Lopez.
“You don’t guard these guys individually, you have to do it collectively,” Thibodeau said regarding how to approach the barrage of scorers Brooklyn has on its roster.
The game was ugly and that plays into Chicago’s favor. Crushing defense and lackluster scoring is just the kind of environment the 2013 Bulls thrive in to grind out a win. The game was so ugly that TNT eschewed it in favor of the extremely boring Heat-Bucks series, relegating the Rose-less Bulls to the NBA channel.
Boozer, riding a wave of post season acclaim thanks to his solid and surprising efforts on the court, had 22 points and 16 rebounds. Luol Deng put up 21 points and 10 rebounds in 44 minutes. Hinrich continued his stellar defense and provided an offensive spark with 12 points.
Of course, this being a Chicago Bulls game, the Nets were able to stick within striking distance. Brooklyn closed the gap from 17 down in the fourth quarter to one possession away from forcing overtime when C.J. Watson missed a wide open 3 as the clock ran out.
“We’re in a position we want to be in, but next game is huge,” Luol Deng said. “If they win the next game we’re back to square one. So the next game is really important for us to take care of home court and it’s going to come fast.”
The Bulls are the team no one wants to face because they bring a knockdown drag em’ through broken glass intensity to each possession. They don’t dominate as much as they negate their opponents from achieving their goals. Even though this is a broken team led by a defensive mad scientist pushing them past the point of physical exhaustion, they would’t have it any other way.
“If you like old-school basketball, you’ll be a fan of the Bulls,’’ Luol Deng said. “We play ugly. That’s what we try to do. We try to make it a defensive game.’’
Game 4 is at noon. If the Bulls can get a 3-1 lead against the Nets, expect a series against Miami to follow. Considering the Bulls consistently pose problems for LeBron and company, it might turn into the best series of the postseason.
Article has been read 324 times