NEW YORK — The Bulls evened their playoff series the only way they know how: bruising defense.
Carlos Boozer had 13 points and 12 rebounds, former Gator Joakim Noah gutted his way through a foot injury to make three fourth-quarter baskets and Chicago beat the Nets 90-82 Monday night to even their Eastern Conference first-round series at one game apiece.
Luol Deng bounced back from a poor opener with 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, the first team to win a road game this postseason.
"I feel like overall our team played passionate basketball (Monday) and that's a plus, because it was ugly in that Game 1," Noah said.
Chicago held the Nets to two baskets in the third quarter to build a big enough lead to hold off a charge.
Noah finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls.
Brook Lopez scored 21 for the Nets, who shot 35 percent from the field. Star point guard Deron Williams was 1-of-9, finishing with eight points.
After an unrecognizable defensive effort in a 106-89 loss in Game 1, when they allowed the Nets to shoot 16-of-20 in the second quarter, the Bulls got back to the mentality that has helped them overcome a number of injuries.
Noah, who has battled plantar fasciitis and whose status was in question going into the series, played 26 minutes, just passing the 20-25 coach Tom Thibodeau said he would be limited to.
"He's willing it is what he's doing, and to his credit," Thibodeau said.
COACH RIPS HAWKS: On the flight back to Atlanta, Hawks coach Larry Drew watched tape of his team getting pushed around in Game 1.
"I couldn't believe my eyes, to be perfectly honest," Drew said.
So, the normally upbeat Drew delivered a scathing message to his players: If they don't get more passionate and a lot more physical, this series against the Pacers won't last very long.
"It becomes a little bit mind-boggling, particularly when you get to the playoffs," he said. "You're going to come up with schemes and ways to defend things … but the last thing you think you need to come up with is any kind of motivating to get the guys to compete and play at a high level."
Playoff NEWS: Hawks forward Josh Smith missed practice because of a sprained right ankle. He received treatment, and the team hopes he will be able to go in Game 2 against the Pacers tonight. … Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, who has battled leg injuries all season, said he was fine a day after his team's Game 1 victory over the Lakers.
AROUND THE LEAGUE: The Suns parted ways with general manager Lance Blanks after the second-worst season in franchise history, the team said. Phoenix finished 25-57 this season under Blanks. … J.R. Smith won the NBA's sixth man of the year award after helping the Knicks to the Atlantic Division title. Smith received 484 points to 352 for the Clippers' Jamal Crawford. … Investigators say the death of Clippers owner Donald Sterling's son was a drug-related accident. Los Angeles County Coroner's officials said Scott Ashley Sterling, 32, died on New Year's Day from a pulmonary embolism after injecting narcotic medication meant to be taken orally. The report did not say what drug had been injected but said the painkiller oxycodone was found in his system.
Bulls 90, Nets 82
CHICAGO (90): Deng 7-17 1-3 15, Boozer 6-12 1-1 13, Noah 4-8 3-6 11, Hinrich 4-10 3-6 13, Butler 1-4 3-5 5, Mohammed 4-5 0-0 8, Robinson 4-11 2-2 11, Gibson 3-3 0-0 6, Belinelli 4-7 0-0 8. Totals 37-77 13-23 90.
BROOKLYN (82): Wallace 1-7 0-0 2, Evans 2-3 0-0 4, Lopez 7-14 7-8 21, Williams 1-9 6-7 8, Johnson 6-18 2-2 17, Bogans 0-1 0-0 0, Blatche 4-9 0-0 8, Stackhouse 1-4 2-2 4, Humphries 3-7 2-2 8, Watson 4-9 1-2 10, Brooks 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 29-82 20-23 82.
Chicago 20 27 22 21— 90
Brooklyn 17 29 11 25— 82
3-Point Goals—Chicago 3-12 (Hinrich 2-3, Robinson 1-3, Belinelli 0-2, Butler 0-2, Deng 0-2), Brooklyn 4-21 (Johnson 3-7, Watson 1-4, Wallace 0-1, Bogans 0-1, Stackhouse 0-3, Williams 0-5). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Chicago 56 (Boozer 12), Brooklyn 50 (Evans 8). Assists—Chicago 21 (Hinrich 5), Brooklyn 22 (Williams 10). Total Fouls—Chicago 25, Brooklyn 19. Technicals—Brooklyn Bench. A—17,732 (17,732).