Bulls 115 (2-0)
Nets 100 (0-1)
The Bulls followed up their 97-95 win over the Cavaliers in the season opener with a 115-100 win on the road against the Brooklyn Nets.
Bulls starters: Rose, Butler, Snell, Mirotic, Gasol
Nets starters: Larkin, Ellington, Johnson, Young, Lopez
The Bulls started off hot in this one, jumping out to a 7-0 lead, which ballooned to sixteen. They led 30-19 at the end of the first quarter before the Bulls defense became as spotty as my computer’s wifi connection to this game and allowed the Nets to pull within one late in the second period. At the half the Bulls only led 58-55 after giving up 36 points to the Nets in the second quarter.
In the first half the Nets were led by Brooke Lopez’s 14 points and Thaddeus Young’s 10, while Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler each led the Bulls with 12. Nikola Mitotic also added 6 rebounds for the Bulls who out rebounded the Nets 19-15. Each team shot pretty well, at around 56%, but 11 Bulls turnovers and poor bench play kept the game close.
The Bulls protected the ball better in the second half and built their largest lead of the game, at 84-65, with 2:35 left in the third quarter. Some sloppy play by the second unit allowed Brooklyn to cut into Chicago’s lead for the second time in the game, but the Nets never got closer than nine, as the Bulls finished them off in the fourth quarter.
Overall, the Bulls had a balanced scoring effort, with six players in double figures. Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 24 points, while Nikola Mitotic added 18, Pau Gasol, 16, Derrick Rose, 15, Aaron Brooks, 12, and Tony Snell, 10. Both Gasol and Mitotic added 9 rebounds each and Butler was the Bull’s lead assist man with 6. As a team the Bulls shot 54 percent from the field, were 14 for 28 from behind the arch, and 17 for 20 from the line.
Brook Lopez led the Nets with 26 points, Bargnani added 17, followed by Thaddeus Young’s 12, and Joe Johnson’s 10 points. The Nets out rebounded the Bulls 45-39, which included 16 offensive rebounds to the Bulls’ 5. However, Brooklyn only shot 42 percent from the field, and did not make a three point shot in nine attempts, a huge difference in the game considering 42 of the Bulls points came from three pointers.
Aside from Chicago’s performance on the offensive end, Noah and Gibson played poorly. Both big men only combined for 3 points and 7 rebounds in 36 minutes. Noah, who only played 17 minutes, continues to struggle on both ends of the court but a block in the first period did move him past Scottie Pippen to third on the Bulls’ all-time block list behind Artis Gilmore and Michael Jordan. The Bulls also had problems taking care of the ball. Turnovers, combined with stretches of poor play by the second unit, contributed to two blown leads.
Up next for the Bulls is an off day on Thursday before going to Detroit to take on the Pistons on October 30th.
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