Bulls down Nets in Game 2

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Updated: April 23, 2013

nnoah

Joakim Noah had nine points, six rebounds and
one block in the fourth quarter, as the Chicago Bulls held off the Brooklyn
Nets, 90-82, to even this first-round Eastern Conference playoff series at one
game apiece.

Noah, who continues to play through a painful right foot injury, ended with
11 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks for the fifth-seeded Bulls, who
bounced back from a 106-89 defeat in Game 1 on Saturday.

“It feels great to come out with a win tonight. We showed a lot of
resiliency,” Noah said.

Luol Deng added 15 points, 10 boards and two blocks for Chicago, which shot
48.1 percent from the field. Carlos Boozer and Kirk Hinrich each had 13
points, with the former also pulling down 12 rebounds.

Brook Lopez ended with 21 points and three blocks for the Nets, who were
trying for their first 2-0 lead in a playoff series since 2004 when they swept
the New York Knicks in the first round.

Joe Johnson and C.J. Watson tallied 17 and 10 points, respectively, for
Brooklyn, which shot 35.4 percent from the floor.

“Our execution when they made an adjustment or when they increased the
defensive pressure, we didn’t handle it or react as well as we need to,” Nets
interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said.

The third contest of this best-of-seven series is set for Thursday in Chicago.

The Bulls, who led 47-46 at the break, started to create some distance in the
third quarter. Boozer’s jumper and Hinrich’s 3-pointer gave Chicago a 52-46
edge.

Brooklyn managed to keep it close and got within five, 60-55, on Reggie Evans’
slam with 5:45 remaining. The Bulls, however, responded with a 9-2 spurt to
end the period. Taj Gibson’s short jumper with 1:04 left put Chicago ahead by
eight, 69-57, heading to the fourth.

Trailing by 14, 73-59, with 10:24 to play, the Nets put together a 9-0 run to
make things interesting. Andray Blatche tallied six points during the flurry,
including a fadeaway jumper with 7:55 remaining to cut the gap to 73-68.

But the Bulls responded with seven straight points to take back the momentum.
After Noah started the spurt with a slam, he made a nice play on Chicago’s
next possession. He grabbed an offensive rebound along the baseline before
passing off to Hinrich, who found Nate Robinson for a 3-pointer. Noah added a
tip-in to make it an 80-68 contest with 5 1/2 minutes to go.

Johnson and the Nets made one last push by scoring the next eight points.
Johnson made a pair of 3-pointers around Watson’s layup to cut the gap to
80-76.

Hinrich made a pair of free throws to stop the run, and the Bulls led by at
least four the rest of the way. Chicago went 4-of-8 from the foul line in the
final minute.

“They picked up their intensity a bit more, but we didn’t have continuity
offensively and when our shot isn’t on, we fall. The series isn’t over; it’s
just begun and we have work to do,” Johnson said.

The Bulls led by as many as six in the first quarter and held a 20-17 lead
after 12 minutes of play.

Chicago’s margin was seven, 34-27, midway through the second stanza, but the
Nets used a brief 6-0 flurry to keep it close. It was a back-and-forth battle
for the rest of the half.

Game Notes

This is the first trip to the postseason for the Nets franchise since 2006-07
… Robinson tallied 11 points for the Bulls, who went 13-of-23 from the foul
line … The Nets went 20-of-23 from the charity stripe … Noah played 25 1/2
minutes, just passing the 20-to-25 that coach Tom Thibodeau said he would be
limited to.