The Least You Should Know
[sny-box]Chicago led 29-19 after one, and it was an uphill battle for Brooklyn the rest of the way against a tough, defensive-minded Bulls team, led by Joakim Noah.
Noah had a game-high 13 rebounds, along with 14 points and seven assists.
Paul Pierce led the Nets with 15 points on 4-of-11 shooting, but he also got in foul trouble and got hit with a technical foul for arguing some ticky-tack calls.
Five Bulls scored at least 14 points, including Carlos Boozer, who returned to the Bulls lineup and scored 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting with 10 rebounds.[/sny-box]
After the Bulls jumped out to that 10-point lead after one, the Nets did a decent job treading water the rest of the way. They trimmed the deficit to eight points at halftime, and kept it eight at the end of the third, but any time they made it a two- or three-possession game, Chicago found a way to widen the gap.
Three Nets scored in double figures, including Deron Williams. However, he also had a game-high six turnovers, and has been the case lately, many seemed to come at the most inopportune times. Nobody needs the All-Star break more than he does.
Chicago's defense held the Nets to just 38.8% shooting, and they held Brooklyn to under 80 points for the second time in as many chances this season. Tom Thibodeau might get more out of his team than perhaps any other coach in the NBA today.
It's a disappointing way to end the first half, but it'll give the Nets plenty to think about moving forward. There's still a lot of work to be done, and with a big road trip coming up after the All-Star break, it's not going to be getting any easier any time soon.
The Nets will have a few days off before resuming the regular season on Wednesday, February 19, when they go on the road to face the Utah Jazz. Mason Plumlee will participate in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, while Joe Johnson will participate in the Three-Point Shootout on Saturday and the All-Star Game on Sunday.