Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets (-4.5, 183)
Nets lead series 1-0.
The Brooklyn Nets put on a tremendous display in the series opener and look to make it two consecutive victories in the best-of-7 series when they host the Chicago Bulls on Monday. Brooklyn raced to a 25-point halftime lead and cruised to a 106-89 victory on Saturday, making a strong statement with its high level of dominance. Chicago will need a much better effort both offensively and defensively to avoid returning home with a 0-2 deficit.
Three of the four regular-season meetings were decided by four or fewer points, a fact that made Brooklyn’s easy victory more confounding to Chicago center Joakim Noah. “It was disappointing,” Noah said. “We didn’t play well. We didn’t come out with the right mindset. They scored way too many points in the paint. We didn’t execute well offensively. But you know what – we’ve got to bounce back. No time to feel sorry for ourselves.” The playoff victory was the first for the Nets since the 2006-07 season. Six players scored in double figures for Brooklyn.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, WWOR (Brooklyn)
ABOUT THE BULLS: The controversy surrounding point guard Derrick Rose is percolating again after the Game 1 rout. Rose tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in last season’s playoffs and hasn’t played at all this season despite the team having medically cleared him. The call is Rose’s over when he will play and Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau continues to walk a delicate line when asked about the former MVP. “Most likely out, but you never know,” Thibodeau said shortly before Saturday’s game began. “The playoffs are stretched out too, so you have to factor that in. Who knows another week from now where he is? You always want to leave that possibility open.” Point guard Kirk Hinrich left Game 1 with a thigh injury and his status is uncertain.
ABOUT THE NETS: It will be interesting to see if Brooklyn matches its emotional Game 1 showing. The contest was the first major sports playoff game held in the city since the 1956 World Series and the atmosphere was electric. “Everybody was excited for this game,” said point guard Deron Williams, who scored 22 points. “I think it has been a long time coming for this franchise, this organization with the move and everything. We expected to be here, so we came out playing like we wanted to be here.” Center Brook Lopez added 21 points and shooting guard Joe Johnson scored 16.
* Over is 4-1 in Nets’ last five home games.
* Bulls are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games.
* Bulls are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings at Brooklyn.
* Nets are 5-1 ATS in their last six Monday games.
1. Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo notched his first postseason victory as a head coach since the 1996-97 campaign with Portland.
2. Noah played in Game 1 despite a foot injury but had just four points in 13 minutes.
3. Brooklyn F Gerald Wallace had 14 points in the opener after scoring just 21 total points over his last eight appearances.