Bulls try to slow down Nets in Game 2 on Monday

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm •  Published: April 21, 2013
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NEW YORK (AP) — Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau watches tape of the Nets and sees a confident team with an offense in rhythm.

And he doesn't mean just Saturday.

The Nets picked apart Thibodeau's defense in Game 1, rolling to a 106-89 victory. And when the teams return to Barclays Center on Monday night for Game 2, the Bulls will have to slow down a team that finished the regular season well and opened the playoffs even better.

"We're catching a team that's in rhythm and we're going to have to re-establish ourselves," Thibodeau said Sunday.

The opener was close for only the first few minutes. The Nets began pulling away late in the first quarter, then made 16 of 20 shots in the second, shooting 60 percent in the first half and opening a 60-35 lead.

Brooklyn won six of its final seven games of the regular season after opening April with a 92-90 loss to Chicago. The Nets scored more than 100 points in each victory, are much healthier than the banged-up Bulls, and with Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson, have three starters who can hurt even one of the NBA's best defenses.

"The thing is, we're disappointed. We played poorly and we have to change the mentality. We have correct the mistakes," Thibodeau said. "Brooklyn's a terrific team. They've been playing great down the stretch, they have good momentum going into the playoffs, they're going to challenge you and we have to be ready to respond."

That's what the Nets are expecting.

"Now they probably feel like they've got their back against the wall and that's how we've got to play," Williams said. "We've got to play like this is a must-win game for us. Game 2, we can't let them come in and steal one from us."

The Bulls didn't practice Sunday, instead watching film. But they didn't really need reminders of everything they did wrong, or of the situation they face.

"I've been here before, we've all been. A lot of us have been here before. Down one, lost the first game with a chance to win the second game," forward Carlos Boozer said. "So for us, we feel like we got our butts kicked, in the first half especially, but we didn't play our best game. We all felt we can do so much more. That's where it's at. To a man we've got to do a lot better."

Thibodeau said center Joakim Noah, who was ineffective while playing through a painful right foot injury, felt better and would start as long as he was healthy. And he defended point guard Derrick Rose, who has been criticized for not returning from last year's knee surgery, even though he was physically cleared long ago and has taken part in practices for weeks.