Position-by-Position Matchup Guide for Brooklyn Nets vs. Chicago Bulls

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Position-by-Position Matchup Guide for Brooklyn Nets vs. Chicago Bulls
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
With Joakim Noah hobbled, the Nets have the advantage at center.

When the Chicago Bulls are at full strength, they match up quite well with the Brooklyn Nets at every position.

But Chicago’s far from full strength at the moment.

Superstar point guard Derrick Rose missed the entire regular season with an ACL tear, and it doesn’t appear he’s returning to the lineup anytime soon. Making matters worse for the Bulls, Defensive Player of the Year candidate Joakim Noah is trying to play through a plantar fasciitis injury that caused him to miss 13 of the last 15 regular season games.

Rose, dressed in a suit, watched last night’s blowout loss from the bench, while Noah played just 13 minutes.

The Nets cruised to a 106-89 victory at the Barclays Center in Game 1.

Let’s take a closer look at the position by position matchups to see how the rest of this best-of-seven series will play out.

 

Point Guard: Deron Williams vs. Kirk Hinrich

If Deron Williams played the first half of the season like he has since the All-Star break, he’d be getting First Team All-NBA consideration. He’s returned to superstar form since taking a week off in mid-February, averaging 23 points and eight assists on 50-percent shooting in March and April. 

Deron Williams made a statement with his reverse dunk in Game 1.

The Nets point guard went on a three-day juice cleanse and received platelet-rich plasma injections during the break. Now he’s got a new spring in his step. During last night’s destruction of the Bulls, D-Will stole the ball from Luol Deng, coasted down the floor and threw down a vicious reverse two-handed dunk. It was just the third dunk he’s converted all season.

Bulls interim starting point guard Kirk Hinrich has done a nice job filling in for 2010-11 MVP Derrick Rose, but he’s no match for a Deron Williams clicking on all cylinders. 

Williams’ advanced passing/scoring statistics (via 82Games.com):

Passing Stats:

3-Pt
Assists

Jump
Assists

Close
Assists

Dunk
Assists

Total
Assists

Passing
T/O's

Assist/
Bad Pass

Passing
Rating

AST48

148

182

194

80

604

134

4.5

13.0

10.2

Scoring Stats:

By

FG.

FGA

FG%

eFG%

Ast'd

Blk'd

FTM

Pts

Game

6.3 

14.4 

.440 

.516  

46% 

5% 

4.1 

18.9 

Hinrichs’ advanced passing/scoring statistics (via 82Games.com):

Passing Stats

3-Pt
Assists

Jump
Assists

Close
Assists

Dunk
Assists

Total
Assists

Passing
T/O's

Assist/
Bad Pass

Passing
Rating

AST48

50

176

66

21

313

51

6.1

9.2

8.5

                 

Scoring Stats

By

FG.

FGA

FG%

eFG%

Ast'd

Blk'd

FTM

Pts

Game

2.7 

7.0 

.377 

.461  

56% 

7% 

1.2 

7.7 

Williams has been better than Hinrich in basically every relevant statistical category. He dishes out more assists per 48 minutes, makes fewer bad passes, scores over twice as many points per game and has nearly a seven-percent better field-goal percentage.

EDGE: NETS

 

Shooting Guard: Joe Johnson vs. Jimmy Butler

Joe Johnson’s numbers this season have been slightly below his career average, but that can mostly be attributed to a nagging plantar fasciitis injury.

The 31-year-old Arkansas product averaged 16.3 points, 3.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game during the regular season.

Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler averaged 13.7 points on 47.5 percent shooting in his second NBA season. Butler saw his role increase in the wake of injuries to Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Luol Deng.

Jimmy Butler’s Clutch Stats (via 82games.com):

Min

Net Pts

Off

Def

Net48

W

L

Win%

  64%

-7

  96.0

  98.9

-2.8

20

19

51.3%

Joe Johnson’s Clutch Stats (via 82Games.com):

Min

Net Pts

Off

Def

Net48

W

L

Win%

  86%

+9

  95.0

  92.1

2.9

21

11

65.6%

The slight edge goes to Johnson because he’s a proven crunch-time player with more experience than Butler. Johnson is a six-time All-Star and made the playoffs five straight seasons with the Atlanta Hawks before coming to Brooklyn. He hit three game-winning shots for the Nets in the regular season.

EDGE: NETS

 

Small Forward: Gerald Wallace vs. Luol Deng

Gerald Wallace has struggled offensively in his first season with the Nets. During the regular season, he shot just 39 percent from the field, 28 percent from three-point range and 63 percent from the free-throw line. 

Wallace had a great Game 1 against Chicago, scoring 16 points and shutting down Deng on the defensive end. But he’s really been a one-dimensional player for Brooklyn thus far.

Gerald Wallace: Free Throw Shooting and Foul Drawing (via 82Games.com)

FTM

FTA

FT%

FTA48

PTS48

FGA

Fouled

DrawF

121

190

63.7

4.4

2.8

539

81

15.0%

 Luol Deng: Free Throw Shooting and Foul Drawing (via 82Games.com)

FTM

FTA

FT%

FTA48

PTS48

FGA

Fouled

DrawF

230

282

81.6

4.7

3.8

1213

120

9.9%

Luol Deng averaged 16.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in 2012-13. He’s athletic, long and has been one of the Bulls’ most consistent players for years. He logged a whopping 38.7 minutes per game in the regular season.

Wallace is an elite defender, but Deng is more polished and an all-around better player.

EDGE: BULLS

 

Power Forward: Reggie Evans vs. Carlos Boozer

Reggie Evans has been thoroughly dominated by Carlos Boozer this year. Boozer averaged 21.3 points on 53.8 percent shooting against the Nets in the regular season. In Game 1 on Saturday night, he scored 25 points and grabbed eight boards.

The Nets haven't been able to stop Carlos Boozer.

The 6’ 9”, 265-pound Boozer is a tough matchup for Evans because he has a quick first step and a great mid-range game. He’s also big and strong and possesses a high basketball IQ.

Boozer accounted for 29 points and 18 rebounds against Brooklyn on April 4.

EDGE: BULLS

 

Center: Brook Lopez vs. Joakim Noah

It’s a shame Joakim Noah is injured. It would have been very fun to watch one the best offensive centers in the NBA go head-to-head with one the best defensive centers.

Noah played just 13 minutes in Game 1, and it’s unlikely his condition will improve as the series goes on.

Brook Lopez dominated the paint area in Game 1.

Brook Lopez, who leads all NBA centers in scoring with 19.4 points per game, had his way with the Bulls frontcourt on Saturday night. The seven-footer scored 19 points in the first half of Game 1 and finished with 21 points, five rebounds and three blocks.

Given Noah’s current status, the edge must go to Lopez.

EDGE: NETS

 

Bench:

Brooklyn’s bench ranks 20th  in the NBA in points per game (30.4) and Chicago’s bench ranks 26th  (27.9) (via HoopsStats.com). Backup center Andray Blatche leads the Nets' bench in scoring, averaging 10.3 points per game. Blatche would start on most teams. Backup point guard Nate Robinson is averaging 13.1 points per game for the Bulls.

The Nets’ bench ranks 13th in rebounds per game (14.7), while the Bulls’ bench ranks 29th  (11.1) (via HoopsStats.com). Blatche averages 5.1 boards per game, and backup power forward Kris Humphries averages 5.6.

Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Andray Blatche has been a difference maker coming off the bench.

Brooklyn also has a few excellent three-point shooters on its bench. C.J. Watson, Keith Bogans and Jerry Stackhouse are all capable of knocking down big shots from beyond the arc.

Watson is shooting 41 percent from three-point range. Marco Belinelli is the best three-point shooter on Chicago’s bench. He shoots 35.7 percent from downtown.

EDGE: NETS

 

Coaching:

The better coach in this series is Tom Thibodeau.

The Nets went 35-19 under P.J. Carlesimo. He’s done a nice job replacing Avery Johnson, but Thibodeau is widely considered one of the best coaches in the NBA.

Thibodeau, a defensive guru, was named Coach of the Year in 2010-11 for leading the Bulls to a 62-win season. He’s taken Chicago to the playoffs in five consecutive seasons.

EDGE: BULLS

For more Brooklyn Nets analysis, follow Andrew on Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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