Chicago Bulls : 90 : : Brooklyn Nets : 82 — April 22, 2013 (GAME 2)
As you might have guessed, Joakim Noah is not himself right now (look at him, he can’t even grab rebounds properly!) and yet he still finds ways to impact games like a Joakim Noah would. His 11/10/4 won’t wow you, but man, whenever the Nets pulled close, his production matched his effort and the Bulls pushed their lead back up.
The Chicago defense was much improved and the Nets couldn’t figure it out at times with Deron Williams struggling all night (1-of-9 for only 8 points, but 10 assists) against Kirk Hinrich and Gerald Wallace immediately crashing back to Earth after his performance in Game 1 and looking like the 2012-13 version of himself (1-of-7 for 2 points in just 19 minutes). Brook Lopez was solid, not spectacular, and Joe Johnson hit some shots late, but C.J. Watson was the only guy the Bulls didn’t have an answer for (10/3/5/1/1 with no turnovers) and there is no answer for that… because no one cares to find one; we all know it’ll take care of itself eventually.
Deron Williams isn’t going to misfire to this degree every time though (Kirk Hinrich isn’t that good) so this should actually be the entertaining series I thought it would even with that mind-numbing Game 1 sticking out. If Chicago can play defense like they did tonight, they can take this series because the Nets don’t look capable of guarding them on the other end, especially if they could shoot threes and free throws close to their normal clip. I don’t believe it yet so let’s see what happens at the United Center.
Series tied 1-1