In a buzzing, blacked-out Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets pounded Chicago inside on both ends to cruise to a 106-89 Game 1 blowout.
Led by Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, the Nets dominated the interior, starting the game 20-for-24 on shots in the paint. It was the same story on defense -- the Bulls missed ten of their first 11 shots at the rim and scored almost entirely from the outside.
Williams, looking as healthy and aggressive as he's ever been, combined with Lopez for 34 points in the first half, almost matching the Bulls' 35. Williams scored 22 points and added seven assists, while Lopez had 21 points, five rebounds and three blocks.
"We didn't even play any D," Thibodeau told ESPN's Sam Ponder at halftime, an unsurprising statement for the defensive-minded head coach. After the Bulls gave up an easy layup to Lopez just one minute into the 3rd quarter, he took a timeout to further yell at his team.
However, the defense never got better for the Bulls, who would give up 27 more points in the third quarter. A hampered Joakim Noah didn't help matters -- Noah started the game but played just 13 minutes, clearly not at full strength despite his best efforts.
Noah was a game-time decision after missing 12 of his final 15 games in the regular season with a foot injury.
Carlos Boozer was the only consistent threat Chicago had on offense, putting in 25 points and eight rebounds on 12-of-20 shooting.
The Bulls, who won three of the four regular season meetings between the two teams, couldn't generate any offense around Boozer. Offensive sparkplug Nate Robinson was limited in his role, playing just eight minutes before starting point guard Kirk Hinrich went down with a thigh injury.
Game 2 will be played between the teams on Monday at 8 p.m. ET, again at the Barclays Center.