Interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said the Nets didn't match Chicago's physicality during their Game 2 loss. The Bulls outrebounded Brooklyn 44-39 and the Nets went just 15-for-36 in the paint.
"We didn't handle it as well as we need to," Carlesimo said during a Tuesday conference call. "Matching or exceeding their physicality is always one of the things we talk about and one of the keys when you play the Bulls. We did a better job of doing that in Game 1 than we did in Game 2."
Unlike Game 1, the Nets were unable to push the tempo like they wanted to in Game 2.
"They put the ball in the basket and did a better job getting to the free-throw line, made us take it out of bounds more and got offensive boards," Carlesimo said. "If we can defend really well, limit them to one shot and get out and go, that's significant.
"But we gave up 90 points and we let them outrebound us by five. We had more turnovers (12), which led to 16 points, and all those things collectively took away from some of the opportunities we had."
As for the adjustments the Nets need to make going into Thursday night's Game 3?
"I still think a lot of it has to do with the defensive end. We need to get more stops and do a better job on the boards [and] opening up more transition opportunities for us," Carlesimo said. "But clearly in the halfcourt, we need to execute a lot better. Whether that be screening or moving of the ball, we gotta make shots. We can't shoot what we shot from 3. ... And clearly we can't play a quarter like the third quarter. We just dug too big a hole to come back out of."
The Nets shot 4-for-21 from 3-point range on Monday night. During the third quarter, they shot 2-for-19 and were outscored 22-11.
The Nets, who won a franchise-record 23 road games this season, now head to Chicago.
"I like playing them in Barclays [Center] more than I like playing them in the United Center," Carlesimo said. "But I do think we're comfortable playing on the road, and it's not going to be about the building, it's going to be about [playing] the guys in the white uniforms.
"The next game is always the most important game of the year. It's not a cliche, not an overstatement. It's the most important game we'll play all year."
Carlesimo was asked how difficult it is to handle the swings from one game to another with his future uncertain. In Game 1, he was applauded. In Game 2, the feeling was that he got outcoached by Chicago's Tom Thibodeau.
"It's easy. [I] don't read about it. Hopefully [I] don't have to talk about it, and even when you have to talk about it, it doesn't affect what we do," Carlesimo said.
"I hope I'm trying to work as hard as I can. I know our staff is. So it's just a way of looking at it. I've been doing it for a long time, and ... it's usually the same people saying one thing one day and then something different the next day. You can't control that."