Joakim Noah won the battle of Eastern Conference All-Star centers, edging out Brook Lopez
Hey, it's a turnover! Over here! Over there! Ok, enough for my children's book-like recap of whatever the hell happened tonight in Chicago. The Nets got simply punked tonight by a Bulls team missing it's star player (Derrick Rose) and a key bench defender/jack-of-all-trades (Taj Gibson, Brooklyn native). Turnovers were galore for Brooklyn (21 to be exact) and sloppy play was the norm, not the exception. The Nets didn't break 70 percent from the free throw line, 45 percent from the field, and 34 percent from the three-point line. In short, the Nets wasted the Bulls' time for about 140 minutes on a Saturday night, and came out looking like a joke.
Call me dramatic with complaining about a team that's eight games above .500, but I think tonight's abomination of an effort constitutes the new low for the Nets. Other than the first quarter (which was tied at 27 after 12 minutes), Brooklyn couldn't hit a shot and played with what seemed like a lid on the basket and butter on their fingers. The second, third, and fourth quarters were, eloquently put, awful.
Joakim Noah and Nate Robinson led the way for Chicago in the second, taking advantage of a Nets' second-unit that couldn't get anything done in any aspect of the game of basketball. This ineptitude culminated in a 26-12 quarter in Chicago's favor, which made it a 53-39 halftime lead for the Bulls. Following a third quarter which saw the Nets deficit extended to 18, Brooklyn–as it did in the fourth quarter on Friday night vs Dallas–had a little spurt late in regulation that brought them within 11 points, but no more. The game would end before the Nets got any closer to salvaging one of their worst performances of this season to date. At least they don't play for three days, and take on the Bobcats when they do resume play.
Some other observations I had from the game: Not many positives to take from this one other than Brook Lopez's 20 points (negated by just two rebounds and a -10 rating), Deron Williams' 14 points (negated by his three turnovers and 4-12 shooting from the field), and Joe Johnson's successful return to the court (negated by five turnovers)…..Reggie Evans grabbed 10 rebounds, and did nothing else. Woe is the existence of Reggie Evans…..Gerald Wallace scored eight points. Hey, that's more than 0!…..Mirza Teletovic actually impressed in some late-game minutes, facilitating pretty well on offense and hitting a few jumpers. He appears to be getting more used to the American game every game…..Andray Blatche actually chipped in 13 off the bench on 4-10 shooting in addition to four steals. His performance was tempered from some completely idiotic plays that cost the Nets multiple points, such as his classic fast-break behind-the-back-dribble that gets stolen by the other team. Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, and MarShon Brooks combined to play 26 minutes. They managed to do absolutely nothing positive in those 26 minutes.
The Nets get a major reprieve by having off until next Wednesday, when they have the privilege of playing the Bobcats. Thank the Holy Lord.