BROOKLYN NETS - Chicago Suffers Saturday Night Fever. The Hoops Of Flatbush Take No Bull On Home Turf.
GAME ONE FINAL
A little under 18,000 fans watched live, as history was being made on Saturday night. The Brooklyn Nets basketball team won the first major professional playoff game in the Borough since 1956, when the Brooklyn Dodgers last played the Bronx Bombers in the 1956 World Series. Saturday night's game inside Brooklyn's new downtown arena was only a first round affair against the Chicago Bulls, but was a huge inaugural step for the club and its fans, not to mention an enormous benchmark for the billionaire owner who's primary goal is to secure the Borough a championship by the 2015 season.
For just over two and a half hours inside Barclays Center, the home team played like a championship caliber club. In running through the Chicago Bulls by a seventeen point margin, the Hoops of Flatbush did everything near perfectly, and finished the game convincingly. From the opening tip to the final buzzer, Brooklyn remained relentless.
Six Nets players ended in double-digit scoring versus just one, Carlos Boozer (25), for Chicago. Deron Williams led Nets scorers with twenty-two points, and also distributed a game high seven assists. Brook Lopez was next high with twenty-one points, and led all players with three blocked shots. Joe Johnson dropped sixteen points, and Crash played a very solid game with fourteen points, six rebounds and two blocked shots. The only starter who failed to score in double-digits was Reggie Evans. As usual, his game contributions came in the form of a game high thirteen rebounds - the only player with double-digit boards. Twelve of Reggie's rebounds came on the defensive end. Unlike Tom Thibodeau, Coach P.J. Carlesimo made almost full use of his bench. C.J. Watson scored fourteen and Andray Blatche added another twelve points in supporting roles.
The Nets shot 55.8% from the floor versus 47.4% for Chicago. The Nets are very simple to figure - when they shoot like that, they usually win, for this has been a season riddled with too many 33% nights. Brooklyn also won the battle of the boards by a 39-35 margin - something they are more accustomed to doing. The Nets additionally shot 82.4% from the free throw line, while Chicago struggled through 68.2% shooting.
Moving forward, if Joakim Noah is going to be hobbling around all series, then it sure makes sense to keep Brook Lopez and Reggie Evans on the floor together. The two dominated down low as a tandem, and were chiefly responsible for outscoring the Bulls 56-36 in the paint. Deron Williams also played a part in Brooklyn's paint domination, driving at will, pun intended. His outside shooting solid, as was Joe Johnson's. If Williams continues shooting nine for fifteen as he did in game one, the Bulls have to respect the outside. Joe-Jo was seven for thirteen from the field. Together, they shot 50% (four for eight) from three point land.
Barclays Center, Flatbush Avenue
Point to the absence of Derrick Rose, and the present health of Joakim Noah if you will. Success is relative. I get that. In game one however, Gerald Wallace appeared determined to become a factor. He was five of seven from the floor, and three of five from the stripe. In thirty-seven minutes, he did a little bit of everything. He factored with points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals. It was a complete night for him. While it is perfectly clear this is Deron Williams' team to run, if the Gerald Wallace that played with Saturday Night Fever continues to suit up for the Nets, Brooklyn can make noise. Before he gets to don his white suit when the series shifts to Chicago, first, the Hoops need to continue the Black-Out, and take care of business right here on their home turf of Flatbush.