The Brooklyn Nets had been waiting for this night ever since coming across the Hudson from New Jersey last season – you could argue they had been waiting for this moment for a number of years given the team’s poor record in it’s final days at the Prudential Center (Deron Williams hadn’t played a playoff game since May 10, 2010), but the Nets had come to let the Eastern Conference know they were for real.
A – surprisingly – raucous crowd welcomed the team at Barclays and from the opening tip the Nets were all business as they set about demolishing a Chicago team playing without Derrick Rose, and a visibly hobbled Joakim Noah. Brooklyn played arguably their best game of the season, right at the time of year they were hoping to be hitting peak form.
Brooklyn enjoyed a total team effort as it cruised to a 106-89 win. Game 2 is back at Barclays on Monday night, but this time the Bulls will be better prepared. The Nets say, they’ll be ready to weather whatever the Central Division champs have. Make no mistake about it, the team you saw last night was not a Tom Thibodeau team. As well as the Nets played – they could have beaten almost any team in the league with their game last night – the Bulls were just as insipid on both ends of the floor.
Nets PG Deron Williams, himself enjoying a rejuvenation of sorts in the second half of the season, said he expects the Bulls to come out ready on Monday night.
“We know that their defense is going to be a lot better this game,” Williams said “We know to expect that, so we have to continue to work offensively to get open, to execute and to be disciplined. We need to win this game. We need to protect home court — that’s what we’re supposed to do – and then give ourselves a chance to win one [in Chicago].”
Center Brook Lopez (21 points, 5 rebounds) said the Nets needed to come out with the same aggressiveness that they had to open their playoff campaign.
“We can’t have a letdown. It was electric in the arena the other night, so … it was easy to get up for it. It’s gonna be important that we come out with an even higher sense of focus and sense of urgency.”