Joakim Noah hobbled his way to 24 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks, including 16 points and five boards in the first half alone, and the shorthanded Bulls managed to escape the first round, beating Brooklyn on the road.
The Bulls jumped ahead to a 17-point halftime lead behind Noah and Marco Belinelli, who scored 24 points and grabbed six rebounds of his own. The Nets chipped away at the lead throughout the second half, but could never regain the lead.
The Bulls played without Luol Deng (meningitis) and Kirk Hinrich (brusied calf) in Brooklyn but are hoping to have both players back for their second round matchup against Miami. The Bulls and Heat begin their second round series on Monday.
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