Joakim Noah had nine points, six rebounds and one block in the fourth quarter, as the Chicago Bulls held off the Brooklyn Nets, 90-82
Brooklyn, NY (Sports Network) - Joakim Noah had nine points, six rebounds and one block in the fourth quarter, as the Chicago Bulls held off the Brooklyn Nets, 90-82, to even this first-round Eastern Conference playoff series at one game apiece.
Noah, who continues to play through a painful right foot injury, ended with 11 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks for the fifth-seeded Bulls, who bounced back from a 106-89 defeat in Game 1 on Saturday.
"It feels great to come out with a win tonight. We showed a lot of resiliency," Noah said.
Luol Deng added 15 points, 10 boards and two blocks for Chicago, which shot 48.1 percent from the field. Carlos Boozer and Kirk Hinrich each had 13 points, with the former also pulling down 12 rebounds.
Brook Lopez ended with 21 points and three blocks for the Nets, who were trying for their first 2-0 lead in a playoff series since 2004 when they swept the New York Knicks in the first round.
Joe Johnson and C.J. Watson tallied 17 and 10 points, respectively, for Brooklyn, which shot 35.4 percent from the floor.
The third contest of this best-of-seven series is set for Thursday in Chicago.
The Bulls, who led 47-46 at the break, started to create some distance in the third quarter. Boozer's jumper and Hinrich's 3-pointer gave Chicago a 52-46 edge.
Brooklyn managed to keep it close and got within five, 60-55, on Reggie Evans' slam with 5:45 remaining. The Bulls, however, responded with a 9-2 spurt to end the period. Taj Gibson's short jumper with 1:04 left put Chicago ahead by eight, 69-57, heading to the fourth.
Trailing by 14, 73-59, with 10:24 to play, the Nets put together a 9-0 run to make things interesting. Andray Blatche tallied six points during the flurry, including a fadeaway jumper with 7:55 remaining to cut the gap to 73-68.
But the Bulls responded with seven straight points to take back the momentum. After Noah started the spurt with a slam, he made a nice play on Chicago's next possession. He grabbed an offensive rebound along the baseline before passing off to Hinrich, who found Nate Robinson for a 3-pointer. Noah added a tip-in to make it an 80-68 contest with 5 1/2 minutes to go.
Johnson and the Nets made one last push by scoring the next eight points. Johnson made a pair of 3-pointers around Watson's layup to cut the gap to 80-76.
Hinrich made a pair of free throws to stop the run, and the Bulls led by at least four the rest of the way. Chicago went 4-of-8 from the foul line in the final minute.
"They picked up their intensity a bit more, but we didn't have continuity offensively and when our shot isn't on, we fall. The series isn't over; it's just begun and we have work to do," Johnson said.
The Bulls led by as many as six in the first quarter and held a 20-17 lead after 12 minutes of play.
Chicago's margin was seven, 34-27, midway through the second stanza, but the Nets used a brief 6-0 flurry to keep it close. It was a back-and-forth battle for the rest of the half.
This is the first trip to the postseason for the Nets franchise since 2006-07 ... Robinson tallied 11 points for the Bulls, who went 13-of-23 from the foul line ... The Nets went 20-of-23 from the charity stripe ... Noah played 25 1/2 minutes, just passing the 20-to-25 that coach Tom Thibodeau said he would be limited to.