Nets 'welcome back' Gerald Wallace, as they blow out the Bulls, 106-89, in Game One of their first round playoff series

Mike Stobe

Welcome back, Gerald Wallace! You've been missed.

BROOKLYN - The "real season" started tonight as the Brooklyn Nets played their first ever home playoff game in their first season in Brooklyn. How about that.

There were plenty of story-lines heading into the tip of Game One, as Derrick Rose was deemed "out," while Joakim Noah was "doubtful." Rose, naturally, didn't play -- and isn't "expected" to play in this series -- but Noah did suit up and ended up starting for the Bulls.

But, the Nets saw the "return" of Gerald Wallace, who played one of his best games of the season, scoring 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, grabbing five rebounds, holding Luol Deng to six points and looking about as confident as he's been all season long.

Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, naturally, led the way as well, with D-Will going for a team-high 22 points and seven assists, while Lopez dropped 21 points.

A near perfect game for the Nets, who shook off a few early jitters and ran away with this one, blowing out the Bulls, 106-89.

Game Two will be played Monday night in Brooklyn, with the Nets hoping to continue this high level of play.

Game Flow

The Blackout in Brooklyn was on, with Mikhail Prokhorov was in attendance, dressed in all black, of course, Jerry Stackhouse sang an amazing rendition of the National Anthem and the BrooklynKnight was lowered in from the rafters in a superhero-like fashion. Welcome to the playoffs, Brooklyn.

Both teams struggled early in this one, with what you might call some "Game 1 playoff jitters." Even before the game P.J. Carlesimo was worried about the first five-six minutes of the game, hoping they can remain as composed as possible heading into the first TV timeout.

When that timeout was called, at the 5:35-mark, the Nets had a 11-6 lead, with Deron Williams and Brook Lopez each having scored five points apiece. Even as the Nets had an early lead they still needed to restrain themselves -- they were only shooting 36 percent to the Bulls' 25 percent.

From there, the Nets did seem to calm down a little, continuing to run the offense through Lopez and Williams. An interesting note, early on Carlesimo opted to go with the Lopez-Andray Blatche combo to counter the Bulls' Taj Gibson-Carlos Boozer tandem.

The Nets recovered, albeit slightly, to shoot 40 percent from the floor in the first, and carried a 25-14 lead into the second, with Lopez scoring 12 and Williams dropping nine points. The major advantage was points in the paint, where the Nets had outscored the Bulls 14-2 in the first.

In the second, the bench, led by Andray Blatche and C.J. Watson gave the Bulls some fits on both sides of the ball. Carlesimo returned Wallace to the lineup to play the power forward, as an attempt to counter the Bulls smaller lineup. What we saw in the first half of this game was a more confident and active Wallace, which is a great sign for the Nets going forward.

The Nets had built a 20-point lead with about 3-plus minutes to go in the second quarter, as they were just having their way with the Bulls. It was an absolute one-sided affair.

At halftime, the Nets had a 60-35 lead, with Williams going for 15 points, Lopez with 19 and Watson with 10 of his own.

Here's your stat of the game: Nets outscored the Bulls 40-8 in the paint in the first half.

In the second half, it was much of the same, as the Nets continued to pound the ball inside, going to Lopez and even clearing our for Reggie Evans.

Gerald Wallace continued to prove that he just may indeed be "back." He hit a long three early in the third and then followed that up with an and-one. This was the Gerald Wallace Nets fans were hoping to get in the playoffs.

The Nets continued to carry a 25-point lead throughout most of the third quarter, and the only Chicago player giving them fits was Carlos Boozer, who midway through the third had 22 of the team's 52 points.

Highlight of the third quarter: Deron Williams reverse dunk; putting the game out of reach "officially" as the Nets had a 89-62 lead at the end of three.

Carlesimo was comfortable enough with a 27-point lead, that he was able to start the fourth quarter resting his starters -- all except Reggie Evans -- and allowing the bench to try and close this one out, only giving the starters a few sporadic minutes here and there. Really, Watson was playing well enough to make sure that whenever the Bulls attempted to pull to within 20 points he would answer on the offensive side of the ball.

Really, the Bulls had no answer for the Nets, especially in the paint, and the Nets never lost their offensive flow. It was about as good of a Game One performance as they could have hoped for.

Final score: Nets 106, Bulls 89.

For more on the Bulls, see: Blog a Bull

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