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April 23, 2013

Bulls steal road game

NEW YORK — Chicago evened its playoff series the only way it knows how: with bruising Bulls defense.

Carlos Boozer had 13 points and 12 rebounds, Joakim Noah gutted his way through a foot injury to make three fourth-quarter baskets, and the Bulls beat the Brooklyn Nets 90-82 on Monday night to even their first-round series at one game apiece.

Luol Deng bounced back from a poor opener with 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who became the first team to win a road game this postseason.

Chicago held the Nets to two baskets in the third quarter to build a big enough lead to hold off a charge in the fourth.

Noah finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who host Game 3 on Thursday.

Brook Lopez scored 21 points for the Nets, who shot 35 percent from the field and were just 4 of 21 from 3-point range. 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, including the season-long absence of Derrick Rose.

Noah, who has battled plantar fasciitis and whose status was in question coming into the series, played 26 minutes, just passing the 20-to-25 that coach Tom Thibodeau said he would be limited to.

Joe Johnson scored 17 points but shot 6 of 18 for the Nets, who couldn’t even reach the 87.5 points they averaged against the Bulls in the regular season, let alone the 106 they rang up in the opener.

Two nights after the first major postseason game in Brooklyn since the 1956 World Series, the crowd wasn’t as energetic and neither were the Nets, who didn’t give the fans much to cheer about with poor starts in both halves.

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