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NBA: Bulls beat Nets to level playoff series

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Determined defense and a gritty performance from injured Joakim Noah helped the Chicago Bulls notch a 90-82 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday that evened their NBA Eastern Conference playoff series.

The Bulls bounced back from a disappointing game-one defeat to knot the best-of-seven first-round series at one game apiece, with game three back in Chicago on Thursday.

Noah, playing through painful right foot injury, scored nine of his 11 points in the fourth quarter, and finished with 10 rebounds, and two blocks as the Bulls bounced back from a 106-89 loss in game one on Saturday.

Bulls forward Luol Deng added 15 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks, while Carlos Boozer and Kirk Hinrich chipped in 13 points apiece.

Boozer also pulled down 12 rebounds for the Bulls, who connected on 48.1 percent of their shots from the field.

Brook Lopez scored 21 points with three blocks for the Nets, with Joe Johnson adding 17 and C.J. Watson contributing 10.

But the Bulls, who displayed an uncharacteristically porous defense in game one, limited Brooklyn to just 35.4 percent shooting from the floor.

The Nets, in the playoffs in their first season since moving to the New York City borough of Brooklyn, were trying for their first 2-0 lead in a post-season series since the first round in 2004 -- when they swept the New York Knicks.

Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo had warned his players to be ready for a Chicago team determined to rebound after their game-one defeat.

"We know what we are going to get from Chicago is what I'm calling desperation, for lack of a better term," Carlesimo said before the game. "We have to meet or exceed that, and that's a big challenge."

In the end, however, the Nets couldn't meet it. They made just four of 20 shots from three-point range and committed 12 turnovers that led to 16 Bulls points.

bb/mdl

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130423/nba-bulls-beat-nets-level-playoff-series