The opening-round series between the Nets and Bulls is headed in the same direction as the teams’ season series, with the Nets headed to the Madhouse on Madison tied 1-1. If Brooklyn wants to have a shot at winning, they will need to return to Barclays Center with at least one more victory.
In what has been a tale of two games thus far, the Nets opened the series in convincing fashion, dominating under the boards, getting points in the paint, and netting points in transition. Brook Lopez got anything and everything he wanted offensively, Andray Blatche was solid off the bench, and even Gerald Wallace’s offensive game made a rare, much-welcomed appearance. Yes, all was good in Brooklyn.
But one game does not a series make. The Bulls pride themselves on defense, and in Game Two that defense showed up. Chicago held the Nets to just 82 points on 35 percent shooting, which is exactly the way the Bulls win games.
There might have been some unrealistically high expectations around the borough as the Nets rolled to a Game One win, but just as there was some overreaction to the Nets dominance in the opener, there is no need to panic after the Game Two dud.
In fact, there are plenty of things the Nets can build on after the loss. Brook Lopez continues to get everything he wants against a banged-up Bulls frontcourt. Kris Humphries provided valuable minutes off the bench. And despite an energized Bulls defense, the Nets had open looks at three pointers all game long — even if they failed to knock most of them down. Sure, the Nets aren’t a great trey-shooting team, but if the Nets shooters can sink some, it will unclog the lane and allow Williams more room to work offensively.
Put the panic button away, Brooklyn. We are in for a long, hard-fought series. And that was to be expected.
Tom Lafe is a 6-foot-5 sports-world insider with a middling high school basketball career who believes the Nets will be driven by the success of the team’s big men.