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Chicago Bulls vs. Brooklyn Nets: Postgame Grades and Analysis

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Chicago Bulls vs. Brooklyn Nets: Postgame Grades and Analysis
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The Chicago Bulls (11-16) robbed the Brooklyn Nets (9-19) of any holiday cheer by stomping them on Christmas Day by a final score of 95-78.

The Bulls seized control of the game in the second quarter behind some stingy defense that caused Brooklyn to shoot 2-of-15 in the frame:

Chicago was led by a big game off the bench by Taj Gibson, who scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Five other Bulls reached double-figures.

For Brooklyn, pretty much everyone outside Deron Williams and Mirza Teletovic struggled mightily. For the game, they shot 35.2 percent from the field. 

And as bad as they were on offense, the Nets may have been even worse defensively: 

 

 

Key Player Grades

Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls, Center

Joakim Noah did what he does on pretty much a nightly basis. He wasn't overwhelming, but he was solid enough to post 10 points and eight rebounds in 34 minutes.

His biggest impact came on the defensive end, where he completely shut Kevin Garnett down (though that shouldn't be seen as much of a surprise this season).

Grade: B

 

Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls, Power Forward

The Bulls got a solid effort from Carlos Boozer as well. He shot 6-of-11 from the field, scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds.

He dominated Mirza Teletovic in the low post offensively, but struggled to check him on the other end as the Nets forward had a big game.

Grade: B-

 

Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls, Shooting Guard 

Bulls fans and writers were understandably high on Jimmy Butler coming into this season, but injuries pumped the brakes on the excitement a bit.

If he can stay healthy and Chicago can avoid further injuries, they still have a good shot at making the postseason in the Eastern Conference.

He was solid in getting to the rim and drawing fouls, as he went 5-of-6 from the line. He finished with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Grade: B

 

Kirk Hinrich, Chicago Bulls, Point Guard

Coming into this game, Kirk Hinrich was struggling mightily from the field with a field-goal percentage of 33.7.

His shot selection was much better on Wednesday than it has been in previous games. He only took open shots and went 3-of-5 from the field, scoring six points and dishing four assists in 20 minutes.

He struggled defensively against Deron Williams, getting crossed over on a few occasions. But you can't hold too much against him for that, considering Williams' reputation. 

Grade: C+

 

Mike Dunleavy, Chicago Bulls, Small Forward

In a season that has been marred by injuries and hardship, Mike Dunleavy has been a relatively bright spot. He came into the game shooting 43.8 percent from the field and it will move up a bit after Wednesday.

He shot 50 percent against the Nets, scoring 13 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

Grade: B

 

Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls, Power Forward

Is there anyone left out there who thinks Boozer should be starting over Taj Gibson? His defense alone makes him a viable option at the 4, but he's starting to dominate on the other end as well.

He was averaging 11.7 points coming into this game and against the Nets, he posted 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting. And the way he finishes at the rim can really light a fire under fans and teammates:

He also collected eight rebounds and blocked two shots.

Grade: A+

 

Bench, Chicago Bulls

Two other Bulls played significant minutes off the bench. Tony Snell struggled and D.J. Augustin played well.

Snell was 2-of-6 from the field and 0-of-4 from three-point range. Those looks from downtown weren't even close. 

Augustin ended up playing 13 more minutes than starting point guard Hinrich. He went 4-of-7 from the field, scoring 13 points and dishing out five assists. 

Grade: B+

 

Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets, Point Guard

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

You have to feel for Deron Williams at this point. If he's not rolling an ankle and limping, he's having to carry an otherwise uncompetitive roster:

That tweet was in response to Williams going down after a turnover in the third quarter. Other than that hiccup, he was pretty solid.

He scored 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting, and he should've finished with more than the four assists he posted. Had his teammates knocked down their open looks, he would've been near a double-double.

The terrible play of his teammates is starting to wear on Williams:

Grade: B+

 

Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets, Shooting Guard

Watching this game, you couldn't help but think of the Mike Woodson-era Atlanta Hawks. Possession after possession, the Nets came down the floor, isolated one player, and ended up hoisting a contested shot.

Such was the case with Joe Johnson (who played for the Hawks under Woodson).

On this day, he did manage to hit 5-of-11 from the field and score 12 points, but he completely failed to get anyone else involved. He finished with one assist.

Grade: C-

 

Kevin Garnett, Brooklyn Nets, Center

Is there anything more tragic than the new Beats by Dre ad featuring Kevin Garnett? The insinuation is that KG can overcome those who say he's over the hill by jamming to inspirational music.

The problem of course, is that he is in fact way over the hill. He came into this game shooting 37.5 percent from the field and finished 2-of-7 Wednesday.

Grade: D

 

Mirza Teletovic, Brooklyn Nets, Power Forward

There was a glimmer of hope for the Nets in this game, and it was provided by Mirza Teletovic of all people:

The long-range sniper ended up scoring 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, but it was to no avail as pretty much all his teammates flamed out.

Grade: A

 

Alan Anderson, Brooklyn Nets, Small Forward

Alan Anderson was almost inconsequential, scoring just two points in 20 minutes.

He struggled on the other end, surrendering 15 points to Jimmy Butler. 

Grade: D

 

Paul Pierce, Brooklyn Nets, Small Forward

Paul Pierce's season has been just about as sad as Garnett's. The duo's struggles in the first half helped the Bulls establish control of the game:

Pierce ended up shooting 1-of-8 from the field and scoring six points.

Grade: F

 

Bench, Brooklyn Nets

It's hard to believe someone on Brooklyn's bench actually played worse than Pierce. But Andray Blatche managed to pull off the feat. He went 1-of-11 from the field and scored seven points.

Altogether, the bench went 4-of-30. 

Grade: F

 

What's Next?

 

Bulls

The Bulls will take on the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.

Their stingy defense will be pushed to the brink against Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and Dallas's high-powered offense.

 

Nets

The Nets have now lost four straight, but should have a good chance to get on track against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Bucks are 6-22 and trending down.

 

For 140-character pearls of wisdom from Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey, follow him on Twitter: @AndrewDBailey.

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