Game 2 of Nets-Bulls starts tonight at 8 P.M., at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Here’s three things to watch:
1) Joakim Noah. The more I watch footage from Game 1, the more I’m convinced that the outcome of this series rests heavily on Noah’s torn plantar fascia. It’s clear that he’s nowhere near 100%, and without Noah, the Nets were able to feast on a frontcourt that relies on Carlos Boozer’s defensive awareness. (Again, I point you to Mike Prada’s phenomenal breakdown of how Deron Williams dominated Boozer). If Noah’s only able to perform at the level he performed at Saturday night, not only will the Bulls struggle to stop Brook Lopez, they’ll struggle to stop dribble penetration from Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and even Gerald Wallace.
2) Gerald Wallace. Speaking of that guy… Wallace had his best game in months Saturday night, finishing 5-7 from the field, attacking the basket, holding Luol Deng to a pedestrian 3-11 shooting night, and even hitting a three-pointer. Wallace gave us a glimpse of how good the Nets could be if he’s playing to his full potential.
3) Carlesimo’s adjustments. Before the game, I asked Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo about adjustments that he feels the team needs to make even after their resounding Game 1 victory. Here’s what he had to say:
“Certainly our defense. In the second half, we gave up 54 points. It’s never a challenge for coaches to find things to be critical of or to work on. We spent time … We have a lot of things that we can do better, but if we can take care of the ball the way we did the other night, if we can shoot it the way we did the other night, that cures a lot of other execution mistakes, things we didn’t do well. When you don’t turn it over and you make almost 60% of your shots, that erases a lot of the mistakes, a lot of execution things that we can do better. Defensively, when you score that many points, that gives your defense a heck of a cushion.”