The Chicago Bulls took a 2-1 series lead with a 79-76 win over the Brooklyn Nets in Game 3 of their first-round matchup. The Nets' offensive troubles from Game 2 continued in Chicago, and they must now win three of the final five games in the series to advance.
The Bulls were led by Carlos Boozer, who had a double-double with 22 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. Luol Deng provided the secondary punch for the Bulls' offense, scoring 21points and also notching a double-double with 10 rebounds.. The Bulls outrebounded the Nets 48-42, as Brooklyn's 35 percent shooting left plenty of defensive rebounds for Chicago.
The Nets cut the Bulls double-digit lead down to three points with 15 seconds left in the game after Brook Lopez dunked an offensive rebound. But Brooklyn was unable to cut it down any further, as Chicago finished the game at the free-throw line. Brooklyn's last effort ended when C.J. Watson missed a potential game-tying three at the buzzer.
After shooting only 11.1 percent in Game 2, Deron Williams struggled again in Game 3, making only five of his 13 field goals. The Bulls defense trapped him when he probed, packed the paint when he drove into the rim and again contained the Nets' lead man. Williams finished with 18 points and only four assists. Joe Johnson scored 15 points on 6-of-15 shooting.
The Nets scored only 34 points through the first half as the Bulls established their lead. Williams made only one field goal in the first half of the game, continuing to struggle against the aggressive Buils defense. The scoring drought continued into the second half, as Brooklyn put in only 18 points in the third quarter as Chicago's lead continued to grow.
Neither bench was effective through the game. The Bulls' bench scored 19 points, while Brooklyn's chipped in only 16. Brook Lopez scored a team-high 22 points and had nine rebounds, while Reggie Evans had a team-high 12 rebounds, but did not score. The Nets went 5-for-21 from beyond the arc.
Joakim Noah played 26 minutes while dealing with his plantar fasciitis injury, but looked unaffected. He continued to move well on defense within the Bulls scheme, picked up eight rebounds and had two blocks and two assists.
Game 2 is Saturday in Chicago at 2 p.m. ET.