Updated: April 20, 2013

2013 NBA PLAYOFFS Round 1

Chicago Bulls @ Brooklyn Nets

Barclays Center 8:00


Game 1 is the biggest game in this series in my opinion and history tells us the same as of the 438 best-of-seven playoff series, teams who won Game 1 won the series 341 times.

The series during the season between these two team was as close as it could be even though Chicago won 3-of-4 games.  The Brooklyn Nets were in all four games and had the lead late in all of the games only to see the Chicago Bulls out-execute them down the stretch to win the close games.

The first two games were extremely tight although the Nets won one of them despite the many turnovers and missed opportunities.  The first game came down to a late turnover by Joe Johnson which led to a driving basket by Marco Bellenelli to win the game in Chicago 83-82. Deron Williams led the Nets with 24 points while Brook Lopez, in his second game back after missing seven games, had 18 points and 10 rebounds in just 25 minutes.

The second game was in Brooklyn and the Nets won 93-89 behind their bench of MarShon Brooks, Andray Blatche and C.J. Watson combined for 25 points in the fourth quarter.  Brooklyn won the rebounding battle with Noah and Boozer out 40-29.  The Bulls were missing Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich for that game.

Game three of this hard fought series was back in Chicago and the Bulls beat the Nets 96-85 with a huge game by Joakim Noah who scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds as well as five assists and four blocked shots.  The Nets 12 point second quarter did them in being outscored by 14 points and Deron Williams was 4-of-12 from the field for Brooklyn.

The final game was one the Nets would like to forget and never watch again.  The Bulls without five players were led by Boozer’s 29 points and 18 rebounds and a late turnover by Lopez followed by a Bulls block of Lopez sealed the Nets fate.  Brooklyn did have a great shot to tie the game in the final seconds but Lopez baseline jumper rimmed out and the Bulls won 92-90.  The Nets got outrebounded, 46-30, and it gave Chicago the win with 13 offensive rebounds.

This series will be decided on the boards and the team that focuses on getting the ball in the paint and securing the ball will win for sure.  These two teams play at a slow pace and are at the bottom of the league in this category so turnovers will be a major factor with limited possessions.

QUESTIONS:  Can Chicago keep a resurgent Williams in front of them with smaller guards like Hinrich and Nate Robinson and which team will dominate the paint, both rebounding and scoring?

The leading scorers for both teams in the regular season matchups were Lopez (19.4 PPG) and Bulls forward Luol Deng (16.5 PPG).


12/15 – BKN 82 @ CHI 83

02/01 – CHI 89 @ BKN 93

03/02 – BKN 85 @ CHI 96

04/04 – CHI 92 @ BKN 90

MATCHUP OF THE GAME: Brook Lopez vs Bulls Frontcourt

Brook Lopez averaged 22 points on 52.9 percent shooting in four games against the Bulls and needs the ball more for the Nets to win this series.  Lopez has the confidence and ability right now to dominate the smaller and more injured Bulls frontcourt.  Brooklyn must take advantage as Lopez is playing the best basketball of his career and is itching to make his first playoff appearance after waiting four years.

Joakim Noah may back for the Bulls after sitting out 12 of the season’s final 15 games, but will be fighting through plantar fasciitis over the course of this series while Carlos Boozer dominated the Nets, averaging 21.3 points on 53.8 percent shooting in three regular-season games he played in.  Nazr Muhammad is the backup center and is not a great option for the Bulls with his slowness and lack of defense so the Bulls will be hard pressed to stop Lopez and Andray Blatche inside.

STAT FOR TONIGHT: Brooklyn has not hosted a playoff game since 1956 when the Brooklyn Dodgers hosted the New York Yankees in the World Series at Ebbetts Field.  The Yankees defeated the Dodgers in seven games when Jackie Robinson made the final out of the series and his career.  Game five of that series will forever be remembered as Yankees pitcher Don Larsen threw a perfect game.




Derrick Rose (left knee) is OUT

Taj Gibson (left knee) is day-to-day

Kirk Hinrich (left thigh) is day-to-day

Joakim Noah (right foot) is day-to-day

Vladimir Radmanovic (back) is day-to-day

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