The Chicago Bulls were humiliated in game one of the playoffs against a Nets team that suddenly didn't look so helpless as they had the past few times the teams squared off. Playoff basketball and all. Chicago's also been one of the worst home teams in the playoffs, so counting on coming back from 0-2 just because the Bulls get two home games is a stretch
That makes tonight's game a must win for Chicago if they want a realistic shot at coming back in this series. What needs to change between the past two games? Virtually everything.
Chicago needs to own the glass
They didn't do a bad job last game, they were outrebounded by four, but most of that was due to Brooklyn simply having more defensive rebound opportunities. That said, Chicago's nine offensive boards are probably not enough to get the job done. The Bulls likely need to push that number up to 12-15 and generate significantly more shots than the Nets.
When you can't score as efficiently per shot, you can make up the gap by taking 10% more shots due to turnovers and offensive rebounds. In the same vein, the Bulls need to generate turnovers and easy opportunities for themselves. They're likely always going to struggle in the half court without Derrick Rose, so the key is to create shots that aren't coming out of half court sets.
Defend the paint
For as great as Brook Lopez was at times in the Nets game, he was basically giving them an 0-fer once he was out of the paint. That likely won't continue, but his efficiency is certainly going to drag down once he's 17 feet away and shooting jumpers. It's a tall task with a banged up Noah, but the Bulls might want to consider using the big bodied Mohammed on him a bit more rather than going small so much.
It's a tough cover for Nazr, and there's a good chance that it doesn't help much, but they at least need to try to push Lopez away from the basket.
Luol Deng needs to step up
That was pathetic.
You let a guy who was playing horrible, horrible basketball score 14 points on seven shots and put up six on 11.
The Bulls simply have no shot in this series if Deng can't dominate his matchup, and it sure as heck isn't off to a good start. Deng needs to take more shots and shot 40%+ from the field, and if he's not up near 50% then two of those makes better be threes.
Can Nate Robinson and Carlos Boozer keep it up?
Those were the two guys you figured could give the Bulls some offense. They combined for 42 points on 20 of 32 from the field which is excellent production and exactly what Chicago needed from the pair. The problem, of course, is they did so in a loss where the team was destroyed.
Chicago needs to not only improve on all of the things that went wrong, but they need to hope the things that went right can repeat themselves. Nate Robinson's probably not shooting 66% from the field for the series, but he likely can give the Bulls similar efficiency if he gets his three point shot going which wasn't a big factor in this game.
Butler wasn't bad, but needs to deliver more
It may be completely unfair in terms of expectations, but Butler needs to win his matchup.
He needs to force Joe Johnson into taking poor shots and then beat him up on the offensive glass, in the post, and use his athleticism to outwork him. Johnson obviously has an advantage in terms of ball skills, but Butler's playing on springs and needs to push his athletic advantage at every opportunity.
Jimmy played a decent game one, but he didn't get any offensive rebounds and that's one area that should be a key for this team to attack with Butler being one of the guys who can make a difference.
It was just one game
There's no such thing as point differential in the playoffs.
Chicago may have been annihilated in game one. They may be far more over matched than we wanted to believe. However, it only takes one win tonight to recast this series even if that win is by a single point.