The Chicago Bulls were in complete control as they faced off against the Brooklyn Nets in their first road game of the season. The Bulls held the lead the whole game and ended with a 115-100 win. Coach Fred Hoiberg continued to employ a offensive mindset as he got the the team going.
Featured in the starting lineup was Derrick Rose (G), Jimmy Butler (G), Tony Snell (F), Nikola Mirotic (F), Pau Gasol (C).
Nets coach Lionel Hollins featured Shane Larkin (G), Wayne Ellington (G), Joe Johnson (F), Thaddeus Young (F), Brooke Lopez (C).
The Bulls were coming off a season opening win at the United Center against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Meanwhile, the Nets were playing in their season opener. The Bulls were playing a Nets team that is not looking to be title contending down the road. On the offensive side, the Bulls were terrific.
Butler led the way with 24 points and six assists. Mirotic was especially impressive as he had an 18-point performance off of 4 for 8 on three-pointers. Mirotic also led the way with nine rebounds in the game. The team as a whole went 42 of 78 on field goals with an efficient 14 of 28 on three-point shots. Free throws were an important part as well, with 17 of 20 free throws made.
The defensive side for the Bulls was good for the most part with some lapses in play throughout the game. The Bulls held the Nets to zero three-points made off of nine attempts. Lopez had some success despite the loss, with 26 points to lead the Nets. Guard Larkin also gave the Bulls some problems as he dished out eight assists and got three steals. The Bulls looked sluggish at some points in the game on defense, letting up fast breaks off turnovers.
Coming off the bench, Joakim Noah showed good energy and leadership to help the Bulls keep the lead late in the game. The veteran player got a block in the first quarter, surpassing Bulls legend Scottie Pippen to become number two on the Bulls all-time list for blocks with 775 total throughout his career. Second year player Doug McDermott was impressive as he racked up eight points and provided the Bulls with good minutes. Rookie Bobby Portis did not get any minutes in the game. Guard Aaron Brooks was great coming off the bench, providing 16 minutes and 12 points. The Bulls managed their lapses in focus by coming right back and padding the lead with efficient offensive play. A positive sign moving forward as the Bulls continue on.
Nets are shut down in first half
The Bulls would play an impressive first half, stopping the Nets from gaining any kind of rhythm. Bulls stars Rose, Butler, and Gasol combined for 13 of 15 on field goals. The Bulls showed momentum coming off their big win over the Cavaliers on opening night as they cruised to a 7-0 lead off a Mirotic jumper, driving shot from Rose, and Butler assist to Mirotic for three. Gasol kept things going with a made shot to go up 11-4.
At 6:07 in the first quarter, Rose passed to Butler for 3 points and a foul. Butler made the free throw to take a commanding 19-8 lead. The Nets were not able to get anything to go in. The Bulls depth was shown as McDermott converted a three off a Brooks assist to take a 24-10 lead.
Nets player Bojan Bogdanovic tried to get things jump started for his team as he made a shot and draw a foul with 2:07 remaining in the first quarter. The first quarter ended in impressive fashion as Noah grabbed a rebound and found Brooks for a fade away shot with nine seconds left to close out the quarter, 30-19.
Bulls turnovers started to become a problem as the second quarter was under way. A turnover led to a Nets fast break layup to reduce the deficit to 35-25. The Nets remained within 10 but started drawing closer as the quarter rolled on. A jumper from Johnson with 4:03 left in the half helped the Nets close in on the deficit 50-45. The half ended with a pair of Butler free throws to keep the Bulls up 58-55 going in to the intermission.
Bulls close out the game for an impressive win
The Bulls tried to go back to their first quarter level of play as they began the second half. Rose made an aggressive drive to the lane as he got the layup and a foul to go up 65-57 with 8:49 remaining in the third. The Bulls started pulling away, capping off their great run with a far three from Brooks to go up 84-65. Bargnani tried to keep things close as he would make a pair of free throws with 2:19 remaining and then followed it up another two points to bring the score to 84-67. The third finished with a baseline drive from McDermott to go up 86-69.
The Nets tried to get the game close in the fourth as Larkin weaved and made a pull up jumper for 88-76. Bulls player E'Twaun Moore killed the momentum as he shot faked, leaving the defender useless and drained the three-pointer. Lopez used his size to his advantage as he got to the free-throw line with a tip back that was made. He then followed it up with a fade away shot and free throw to get the Nets within 11.
Butler then went off and showed why he is one of the best players in the league, making a three then getting an assist from big man Gasol to make another three, going up 100-88. Lopez then got to the stripe again with 3:41 remaining to bring the Nets within six. The Bulls then swung the momentum in their favor and never looked back off of great play from Mirotic and Butler. Mirotic drained a three to give the Bulls a dominant 115-100 victory, to go up 2-0 on the season.