Game 1 was great, but don’t expect anything like that again in game 2. The Brooklyn Nets will be back home again at Barclays Center Monday night to play the second game of the 7-game first round series against the Chicago Bulls. The Nets won the first game 106-89, and it was never that close. The Nets jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter and never looked back, leading by as many as 30 points.
Now, they must get that game out of their heads and be prepared for a much better Chicago team in the second game of the series. Tom Thibodeau is too good of a coach to allow his team to get blown out in two straight games and he is sure to come up with some sort of better defensive plan to stop Deron Williams and the Nets. The Bulls were embarrassed by their effort in game 1, losing in primetime on national television and don’t want a repeat.
Another reason this could be a letdown game for Brooklyn is that they have gotten all of the “firsts” out of the way. The crowd was very into game 1 on Saturday and so were the players after getting disrespected by much of the media, who predicted that Chicago would win the series despite the Nets being the home team. Although the crowd will still be good, there may be a little bit less excitement about game 2 than there was about game 1 and now the Nets have less to prove.
Of course, the Nets still should win this game. If they can play close to how they played in the first half on Saturday, when they outscored Chicago 60-35, the Nets are the much more talented team and they will win. The Nets crushed the Bulls in almost every statistic imaginable in game 1 and they will try to do that again in game 2.
The biggest issue for Chicago is injuries. There has been no indication that Derrick Rose is returning anytime soon. Also, even though Joakim Noah played in game 1, he only played 13 minutes and was barely able to walk afterwards. He might give it a go again in game 2, but don’t expect too much from him. To make things worse for the Bulls, their starting point guard Kirk Hinrich suffered a leg injury in the second half on Saturday. There is a good chance he will play, but if he is slowed down at all, he is no chance of coming close to keeping up with Deron Williams. If he cannot play, the Bulls are down to Nate Robinson as their only traditional point guard, which is a huge problem. Meanwhile, the Nets are 100% healthy and even a player like Gerald Wallace, who has been banged up, had his best game in months in game 1.
I think that tonight’s game will be much closer than game 1, but the Nets will still win. Chicago will clamp down on defense, but just won’t have enough offensive weapons to keep up with Brooklyn. I think the Nets will lead for most of the game and hang on to win 91-87.
The game starts at 8 pm eastern and I hope to see you all there. Let’s go Nets!