The Bulls had no answer for Deron Williams in Game 1 on Saturday night and will need to find a way to slow down the former Fighting Illini star and even the series and one game apiece.
The Chicago Bulls will get a chance to redeem themselves from the embarrassment that was Game 1 against the Brooklyn Nets in their opening round playoff series. Facing a wave of excitement and emotion from the Barclay’s Center crowd fired up for the first playoff game held in Brooklyn in decades, Chicago couldn’t compete and were defeated handily, 106-89.
Joakim Noah made a surprise appearance – and start – in the game, but he was clearly hobbling and almost seemed to be playing on one leg as he continues to deal with his bothersome plantar fasciitis issues. And of course, there was Derrick Rose, clad in a suit and sitting on the sidelines for only the second time this season.
Rose has been taking a PR beating of late as his insistence to take his rehab slowly has angered some fans and caused them to question not only his mental toughness, but his ability as a leader. Add all of these things up and the Bulls have more than just Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez to worry about in this series.
Despite all of that, playing the Nets in the first round still gives the Bulls their best chance to advance past the first round this year. It’s really difficult to go into an opponent's building and take the first game of a playoff series on the road.
Brooklyn shot lights out in Game 1 and Chicago couldn’t hit the Brooklyn Bridge with a rock if they were standing on it. The team also didn’t exactly put forth their best effort on the defensive side of the ball like Tom Thibodeau teams are known for.
Both instances seem like one-offs and fans can expect a much tighter and competitive affair on Monday night.
Game 2 gives Chicago an opportunity to re-establish themselves in the series, but more importantly, a win would give them the home-court advantage. There are still a lot of questions surrounding the health of Joakim Noah and how much he’ll play this series, and Tom Thibodeau’s “next man up” philosophy will certainly be put to the test if Noah truly is unable to make an impact in this series.
Follow Outside Shot on Twitter (@Outside_Shot) for more Bulls news and information