After a dominant performance that saw the Brooklyn Nets lead the Chicago Bulls 60-35 at the half, in coasting to an easy win in game one, the Bulls defense clamped down on the Nets, holding them to only 57 through three quarters en route to tying the series at one a piece in game two.
The first two games were a tale of two All-Star Centers. In game one, Nets All-Star Center Brook Lopez dominated the first quarter, with 13 points, and the first half, with 19 points, as the Nets took a 25-point lead and the game was essentially over. In game one, Bulls All-Star Center Joakim Noah was limited to less than 14 minutes because of plantar fasciitis, but he willed the Bulls to victory in game two, notching a double-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks. He also helped limit Lopez to five shot attempts in the second half, four of them missed.
Not to me overlooked is the difference in play by Nets point guard Deron Williams. He had a suburb game one, scoring 22 points, with three steals and seven assists, but struggled with only eight points, and 10 assists, while shooting only 1-9 from the field in game two. If the Bulls defense is able to smother Williams like this, the Nets will have little chance to win this series.
So after two games, the Bulls have stolen home court, with three of the final five games, if necessary, played in Chicago. Going into game three, there is a glimmer of hope for the Nets. The Bulls only won 24 of their 41 home games this season, one more than the Nets won on the road. The Nets are capable of stealing one in the Windy City, but if that is going to be the case, they are going to have to return to the dominance in the paint that sparked them Saturday night, and that starts with Brook Lopez.