NBA Playoffs: Nets slam Bulls in Game 1

Deron Williams and the Nets blew by the Bulls in Game 1 of their first round series Saturday. (Getty Images)
Deron Williams and the Nets blew by the Bulls in Game 1 of their first round series Saturday. (Getty Images)

Just over two minutes into his first career playoff game, Brook Lopez stepped in front of Carlos Boozer as the Chicago power forward inched closer to the basket. Lopez did not concede any space and as Boozer got within five feet, he blocked the shot.

Less than a minute later Lopez did it again, denying Joakim Noah an easy layup.

Those two blocks established a strong defensive tone and in their first playoff game at the Barclays Center, the Nets led by as many as 28 points in a mostly dominant 106-89 victory on Saturday night.

“I was excited and very anxious because I’ve been waiting for this for a while and was very pleased with the results,” Lopez said. “The energy was electric and it was a lot of fun, especially with the team playing at a high level.”

“It feels good knowing that you can Lo (Lopez) back there to do stuff like that,” forward Reggie Evans said. “I think it’s good for him also, knowing he can get some key blocks like that. It’s great.”

Before the game veteran reserve Jerry Stackhouse sang the national anthem and Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov, while wearing a dark black suit to adhere to the “Blackout in Brooklyn” theme, addressed the crowd by saying:

“I heard there was a blackout in Brooklyn. I came to keep lights on … Thank you for passion and support.”

Then the real show started in the first postseason pro sports game played in Brooklyn since Game 7 of the 1956 World Series at Ebbets Field as a fired up Nets team came very close to setting franchise record for fewest points allowed in the first quarter and first half in their postseason history in front of a frenzied crowd that was loud from start to finish without much encouragement from the sound system.

“I think we used the words locked in and I think we locked in today,” Deron Williams said. “From shootaround, we focused on our plays and schemes. It all carried over to tonight and hopefully we can do the same thing the next night and not just our first playoff game.”

It also featured a solid performance from Brooklyn’s trio of Lopez, Williams and Joe Johnson. They combined for 59 points on 23-of-43 from the field with each player scoring in different ways.

Lopez scored 19 of his 21 in the dominant first half, heating up after a 2-for-6 start. He scored on mostly post-ups and mid-range shots while also spreading the floor after passing out of double teams.

“I have so much confidence to the point where I know he’s going to bring it every night,” Evans said. “I won’t worry about him. It’s typical Lo (Lopez), he’s here early, ready to roll and he did what he did.”

“I’ve been on Brook all year about when we get two on the ball on my penetration, just run right to the rim because he’s going to get easy baskets,” Williams said. “He’s done a great job of paying attention and learning and growing as a player.”

Williams scored 15 of his 22 in the first half, highlighting his first playoff game in three years with a reverse dunk that saw him execute a double pump move late in the third quarter that shocked Evans and had him going ‘whoa, are you serious’.

“He’s just playing at an extremely high level,” interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo said. “He pushed the ball, he distributed, he defended and he played extremely well.”

When Williams wasn’t doing that, other highlights included a 3-pointer after doing a shoulder fake that sent Kirk Hinrich out of bounds as well as several easy transition layups, allowing the Nets to push the pace against a team they did not score 90 points against during four regular season meetings.

Johnson scored 16 points but the Nets did not need to run many sets for him because o the work performed on the defensive end in the early minute.

The Nets held the Bulls to 30.4 percent shooting in the first half and didn’t allow Chicago to score its 10th point until there was 4 ½ minutes remaining. The Nets had a three-point lead at the time but by the time the Bulls reached 20 points, the lead swelled to nine and when Chicago finally reached 30 points late in the first half, Brooklyn had a 19-point deficit.

The defensive tone established in the opening 12 minutes did not necessarily neutralize Boozer (25 points, eight rebounds) but it certainly seemed to adversely impact Noah and Luol Deng, who were a combined 5-for-17 and scored just 10 points.

“(We can be) very dangerous,” Johnson said. “This is probably the best game we played all season.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.