Bulls dominate Nets throughout for first road win of season
The Chicago Bulls put on a treat of a show Monday night at the Barclays Center, defeating the Brooklyn Nets 118-88 in their first road game of the season.
The two teams were pretty even within the first few minutes, even owning a 7-7 tie with each other, but the Bulls’ efficient offense was no match for the Nets. Rajon Rondo was very active, making shots of his own, doing his typical job of setting up his teammates and even getting the job done on the defensive end.
But it wasn’t just Rondo’s doing.
Robin Lopez assisted Jimmy Butler on his made 3-pointer at the 7:07 mark of the quarter, making the Bulls’ score double what the Nets’ had, 18-9. Butler’s three also forced Brooklyn to take a timeout.
That offensive efficiency led the Bulls to a 38-point quarter, which is their highest scoring first quarter since 2012.
The Bulls were a little slow to start the second quarter, going scoreless for nearly two minutes, but the Nets couldn’t get themselves going either. A little over two minutes into the period, Michael Carter-Williams injured his knee, coming down hard after trying to defend a fast-break layup. The left knee injury kept him out for the remainder of the game, but the Bulls fared well without him despite the slow start.
Chicago finally got going again with two Nikola Mirotic 3-pointers. Then, Doug McDermott and Isaiah Canaan each scored layups, assisting each other’s shots to give the Bulls a 50-29 lead. Brooklyn, on the other hand, couldn’t get going on either end of the court, making some shots but never getting the defensive stops needed to make a run.
By halftime, the Bulls held a 21-point lead over the Nets, 65-44. But the third quarter didn’t start as well as the first quarter did.
The Bulls didn’t play as sharp, playing sloppily and committing unforced turnovers. This hurt their offense, as they went through a scoring drought for nearly two minutes. But Chicago’s lead — combined with Brooklyn’s poor play — provided enough of a cushion that it didn’t hurt too much to struggle for a little bit. By the time the Bulls got back on the scoreboard, they still led by 20, 73-53.
As the game progressed, Chicago kept up, extending its lead even further as Brooklyn continued to have no answers for its opponent. The Bulls hit the century mark with 7:48 left in the fourth quarter off a Mirotic bucket. Come the 4:24 mark of the last period, head coach Fred Hoiberg had emptied the bench, putting in a lineup of Canaan, Denzel Valentine, Paul Zipser, Bobby Portis and Cristiano Felicio.
The Bulls are now 3-0. This is the first time they have opened a season with a 3-0 record since the 1996-97 season. They’ll look to improve to 4-0 Wednesday when they take on the Boston Celtics.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.