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Nets offense doesn't show up in Game 2, as Bulls even up the series with a 90-82 win

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN - After Saturday night's Game One blowout, the Nets were looking to remain composed and come out in Game Two as if Saturday hadn't happened. No Derrick Rose for the Bulls and a limited Joakim Noah meant, well, advantage Nets. Right?

Too bad, for the Nets, the offensive decided not to show up. They shot just 34 percent from the floor and watched as Deron Williams shot just 1-of-9 from the floor for eight points (10 assists). Credit the Bulls defense, naturally, but the Nets just didn't have it tonight, which resulted in a 90-82 loss and the series being tied at 1-1 as they head to Chicago for Game 3 on Thursday night.

Noah played 25 minutes, scoring 11 points and pulling down 10 rebounds, and his presence was most certainly felt on the defensive side of the ball. This is a different Chicago team with a even somewhat healthy Noah.

Game Flow

The Nets needed to get off to a hot start, feed off the crowd and not let the Bulls mentally get back into this series, and on the first possession of the game, Gerald Wallace came up with a steal and was instantly fouled by Luol Deng. Nice start, however, it got a bit sloppy from there, as the Nets turned the ball over four times in the first four minutes, and missed their first six field-goal attempts. It wasn't pretty.

Another problem for the Nets was that Wallace picked up two early fouls, one on a ridiculous call. The only player with early energy, Wallace, was on the bench after having picked up a cheap second foul.

The Nets settled in offensively toward the end of the first quarter, and while it wasn't a pretty 12 minutes of basketball, the Nets escaped the first down 20-17, as they shot 33.3 percent from the floor and turned the ball over six times.

In the second, though, the bench had its own struggles, scoring just five points in the first 4.5 minutes of the quarter. When P.J. Carlesimo put the starters back in, save for Reggie Evans -- who remained out as Kris Humphries played the '4' -- the Nets went on a quick 6-0 run, with Hump getting four straight. Just like that, with 5-plus minutes to play, the Nets were within one, 34-33.

Brooklyn, smartly, continued to force the ball inside on offense, which was the exact recipe for success on Saturday night. They rattled off a 12-3 run, with Lopez carrying the offense. He scored 14 first half points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor.

At the half, however, the Bulls carried a 47-46 lead, thanks to a C.J. Watson buzzer-beater from behind the 3-point line.

Williams, however, had two points with zero field goals in the first half. That had to change in the second if the Nets wanted to pull this one out.

The second half had a sloppy start, "typical" third quarter woes for the Nets. Five minutes into the third, Williams had yet to make a field goal, going 0-for-6 from the floor and missing a wide open three. The momentum certainly belonged to the Bulls, who had built an 8-point lead, 58-50.

Finally, Williams had found the bottom of the net, with a jumper in the lane to pull the Nets within six. Again, if they wanted to pull ahead, they needed Williams to really take over offensively. Lopez couldn't do it on his own.

The Bulls, however, had other plans in mind. From about the midway mark in the third to the 3-minute mark they went off. The intensity belonged to the Bulls, as they forced turnovers, pushed the Nets into taking long jumpers and simply out-hustling them any opportunity they had, taking a 67-55 lead. The teams traded baskets and at the end of the third, the Nets were down 69-57.

Chicago out-scored the Nets 22-11 in the third quarter -- they shot 2-of-18 from the floor. Again, typical woes, but not something that should be acceptable in a home playoff game.

P.J. went to the bench in hopes that he could find a spark, with MarShon Brooks making an appearance. C.J. Watson, Kris Humphries and Andray Blatche did their best to pull the Nets to within a manageable striking distance.

Brook Lopez finally returned, after spending the first six minutes of the fourth on the bench, as P.J. went with the Lopez-Blatche combo. It was a much-needed boost, as the Nets were down by 10 at that point and the momentum had already shifted.

Joe Johnson hit back-to-back threes and the Nets went on a quick 6-0 run, to pull within four with 4-plus minutes to play. We had a ballgame on our hands.

Late in the fourth the Nets needed to make stops, as opposed to trade buckets with the Bulls, which, unfortunately what was going on. Until, the Nets went cold on the offensive side of the ball.

It was too little, too late for the Nets to recover from their horrid third quarter. They finished the game shooting 35.4 percent from the floor, leading to a 90-82 loss.

For more on the Bulls, see: Blog a Bull