The Skinny: The Bulls were shorthanded, playing without both Luol Deng (flu) and Kirk Hinrich (calf). The Nets seemed to smell blood and came out very aggressive. Brook Lopez (4-for-8) and Joe Johnson (5-for-6) each scored 10 points, but the Bulls got eight points each from Joakim Noah (4-for-6) and Marco Belinelli (4-for-7) and managed to keep it close after one. The Nets took quick shots and put an emphasis on pushing the ball. The biggest surprise was MarShon Brooks. Gerald Wallace picked up two early fouls, and Brooks was the first man off of P.J. Carlesimo?s bench. As a team, they didn?t turn the ball over in the first and led 33-27.
With the second unit, the Nets played relatively well and managed to hold a seven-point lead when the starters re-entered with about five minutes remaining in the half. Kris Humphries played with good energy, and the Bulls went about five game minutes between field goals at one point during the quarter, which left them in a hole. C.J. Watson, Andray Blatche and Humphries each scored four points in the second, but Nate Robinson sparked the Bulls to a run to close the gap to a single point, 47-46. Williams took over and scored eight points in the final two minutes of the half and helped the Nets out to a 60-54 halftime lead.