With the Nets needing a statement win, Sunday afternoon provided the perfect storm: they’d played just one game in the past week, against the league’s doormat in the Philadelphia 76ers just a hundred miles down the highway, while the Bulls were on the fourteenth and final day of a seven-game road trip.
The Bulls’ big men played with more energy (Joakim Noah waves) and efficiency (Pau Gasol nods), their guards more aggressive (Jimmy Butler barks) and freakish (Derrick Rose backflips), and ran the Nets off the floor by the close of the third quarter.
The Bulls are arguably the best team in the Eastern Conference, so this came as little surprise. But even in a loss, you’d expect the Nets to put up a better fight than this.
Struggled to keep up with a healthy Derrick Rose. Not even the blue headband could save his afternoon.
Struggled to contain Mike Dunleavy getting to the basket early, not considered a difficult assignment outside of shooting, but adjusted and got good shots en route to 11 first-half points. Didn’t do much after.
Looked like the young guard going against the seven-time All-Star, when it should’ve been the reverse. Surprisingly sloppy game from Johnson, who struggled to score against Jimmy Butler, only getting one layup out of a post-up play to go in the first half.
Energy as always — and did you see him put down a crossover on Joakim Noah in the third quarter? — but
At least he’s still got his innovative teeth-centric defensive practices.
Barely played in the second half as the Nets fell apart.
Hit a nice jumper to open the gates within the Nets flex offense and scored his requisite double digits, but struggled with foul trouble and remains little match for Joakim Noah’s boundless energy. Played strong man defense against Pau Gasol, but Gasol was able to convert tough looks over him.
RIDE THE MID-RANGE TRAIN!
Continues to play well as the lead point guard by running the offense well and occasionally taking & making ridiculous shots.
Seems like the battle for the backup center spot is back on: Plumlee threw up some ugly shots in the post and struggled to hit free throws but did run the floor for an open dunk and set moving screens with Garnettian efficiency.
Contrary to popular belief, he can make an impact when he’s not shooting well. Tonight wasn’t that.
Give him credit: still playing well within the offense and attacking the basket strong on pick-and-roll opportunities.