The Nets weren’t ready for it to be over. Not the series. Certainly not their first season in Brooklyn.
”We did not want it to end. No-one in this locker room wants it to end. Nobody is ready to go home,” backup center Andray Blatche said. ”We still feel like we’ve got the opportunity and chance to make it to the 2nd round.”
Brook Lopez had 28 points and 10 rebounds, Deron Williams added 23 points and 10 assists, and the Nets beat Chicago 110-91 on Monday night, cutting the Bulls’ lead to 3-2 in their first-round playoff series.
Recovering from a collapse that sent them home on the brink of elimination instead of tied; the Nets battered the Bulls on the boards and forced Bulls into being the team that wilted down the stretch.
Blatche scored 10 of his 13 points in 4th quarter and Gerald Wallace had consecutive baskets in the finishing surge as the Nets eventually pulled away in a game they led most of the way, but never by too much.
”It was just a lot of mental mistakes. A lot of mental mistakes,” Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah said. ”I feel like we had our chances. We beat ourselves. They played well. You’ve got to give credit when credit is due and now it’s on us to come back and be ready for Game 6.”
If the Nets win that one, they’d host Game 7 on Saturday.
Nate Robinson had 20 points and 8 helps starting in the place of point guard Kirk Hinrich, who bruised his left calf in Saturday’s game. Basketball scores
Only 8 NBA teams have overcome a 3-1 deficit, but the Nets remained confident after Saturday’s collapse, feeling they’d over-matched the Bulls for long stretches in the series. They have led by double digits in 4 of the 5 games.
”I believed that we might respond,” Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. ”We’ve bounced back all year too well, and as upsetting a loss as that was on Saturday, there’s still been enough good minutes in this series. Neither one of us are getting away from each other.”
But they need 2 more wins against a Bulls franchise that is 12-0 all-time when holding a 3-1 lead.
Robinson scored 29 of his 34 points after the 3rd quarter Saturday in a game the Nets controlled by 14 late in regulation.
Coming off his big game and agitating to opposing fans even if he’s struggling, Robinson was loudly booed during introductions, and every time he touched the ball early on.
He made a jumper with 4:17 remaining to cut Brooklyn’s lead straight to 95-90, but there would be no charge this time.
Lopez converted a 3-point play, and after a free throw by Jimmy Butler, Wallace nailed a 3-pointer then came up with a steal and dunk to give the Nets a 103-91 advantage with 2 minutes left.
The Nets finished it off without effort, prolonging their first season since moving from New Jersey.