Game 4 · April 27, 2013 · United Center · Chicago
Ben Couch · BROOKLYNNETS.COM
By Ben Couch
CHICAGO—Saturday at United Center, the Nets were defeated by the Bulls, 142-134, in triple overtime. Joe Johnson hit game-tying baskets twice in the final 11 seconds of the first overtime period, including one at the buzzer, finishing with 22 points on 10-of-20 shooting. Deron Williams led Brooklyn with 32 points and 10 assists, while Brook Lopez added 26 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks and 2 steals. Andray Blatche posted 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in 18 minutes off the bench.
This was Game Four of a seven-game First Round series that the Bulls lead, 3-1. Game Five will take place Monday at 7 p.m.
FINAL: Bulls 142, Nets 134
After a thrilling Bulls comeback in the final four minutes of regulation tied Saturday's game, overtime began with traded misses before traded buckets, the Nets scoring last in the initial flurry and taking a 116-113 lead with two minutes to play. Joakim Noah scored a quick layup, which was followed by an extended possession ending with Gerald Wallace splitting free throws to leave Brooklyn up two.
Nate Robinson, who scored 23 points in the fourth for Chicago – including 12 in a row late, pulled up for a jumper that swished clean to tie the score yet again. Robinson drove middle, dished to Noah on the roll; the Bulls center took a step before feeding a cutting Carlos Boozer for the go-ahead basket, which gave Chicago its first lead since the third quarter at 119-117 with 26.3 seconds remaining.
The Nets ran a play to isolate Joe Johnson on Luol Deng, and despite a quiet game to that point, Johnson drove fearlessly into the middle of Chicago's defense, softly dropping in a floater over four closing defenders. After a timeout, Robinson isolated and banked a 23-foot runner with 2.0 seconds to play.
Brooklyn's final chance featured Johnson coming around a Brook Lopez screen, catching a perfectly thrown inbounds pass in stride and putting up a runner as time expired. It swished. Double-overtime.
With the players beginning to tire, play was sloppy in the second overtime, as both teams exchanged misses, near-turrnovers and a pair of buckets before the Bulls went ahead, 125-123, on another Robinson runner. A Nets turnover led to Gerald Wallace fouling Robinson, picking up his sixth of the game. Though the Bulls couldn't convert thrice (Carlos Boozer grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds), the Nets missed on the other end, and Chicago All-Star Luol Deng fed Noah for a dunk to stake the Bulls to a four-point lead in the final 90 seconds.
Johnson hit another short runner, this time while being fouled, pulling the Nets within one after the free throw. Robinson pushed off Williams, committing his sixth foul and a turnover before heading to the bench to watch. With the Bulls in the penalty, Lopez headed to the line for a crucial pair, hitting the first ... and missing the second. Tied at 127.
The Bulls freed up Luol Deng for a long jumper that caught back rim. Brooklyn again went to Johnson, but his fadeaway bounced off and into the hands of Chicago's Jimmy Butler, who called timeout with 5.5 seconds to play. An inbounds play offered no options, but the ball rolled out of bounds with 0.4 remaining, leaving the Bulls one last catch-and-shoot opportunity, but the quick shot by Noah skipped across the rim.
Overtime No. 3 (and Quarter No. 7) began with a baseline jumper from Joakim Noah, who committed his sixth foul on the ensuing possession, leaving the Bulls without him or Robinson for the remainder of the game. Reggie Evans split free throws, enabling Chicago to sandwich a Williams misfire with makes by Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson, taking a 133-128 lead with 3:19. Williams' layup closed it to three, but Deng promptly hit a jumper to stretch it back out.
Evans became the second Net to rack up six fouls, but the Nets finally stopped Chicago, with Lopez pulling down a rebound and then drawing Gibson's sixth, forcing him to join Robinson and Noah on the bench. The free throws made it a three-point game, but Nazr Mohammed – who had just checked in – hit a hook shot with 32.6 left, as time began to slip away from Brooklyn.
Lopez made a putback with 21.2 remaining, leaving the Nets with no option but to foul and hope the Bulls missed free throws the rest of the way. Their only miss was rebounded for a game-sealing layup and-one.
The Nets exited the halftime locker room ready to build on a late second-quarter run, with Deron Williams and Joe Johnson opening the scoring before ceding to aggressive performances from Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans, who combined to score eight of 10 points in the first 5 1/2 minutes of play.
Williams again went on a several-possession binge, scoring consecutive buckets to ensure the Nets stayed ahead. With interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo resting the starting PG for the final three minutes of the quarter, Johnson and Lopez chipped in, with the 7-footer swishing a three – the first of his five-year career – as the shot clock expired, two seconds before the period came to a close.
Chicago kept putting pressure on the Brooklyn, but answers kept coming, supplied by Andray Blatche (jumper), by C.J. Watson (jumper), by Wallace (three) and by Evans (layup and-one). The lead stretched as high as 12, though every time it seemed out of reach, Nate Robinson converted for the Bulls.
With the lead eventually narrowing to seven just five minutes form the finish, Williams probed the defense before pulling up behind Lopez for a momentum-swinging three. The point guard, locked in coming out of the ensuing Bulls timeout, blocked Kirk Hinrich's jumper and fed Wallace ahead of the pack for a dunk that left Brooklyn ahead by 14.
Nate Robinson committed a turnover on the ensuing possession, but C.J. Watson missed a dunk on the break, allowing the Bulls an opening they needed to get back in the game: Nate Robinson scored 12 unanswered points before dishing to Carlos Boozer for a game-tying reverse layup.
Lopez hit two free throws to end the drought, and Luol Deng's corner three was no good, but Joakim Noah twice kept the rebound alive; his second tip tied the game with 23.9 seconds to play. An isolation jumper by Williams missed at the buzzer, and the game went to overtime.
The Nets opened Saturday's game with a Brook Lopez dunk on a set play, seeming to carry the momentum from their late flurry on Thursday. Brooklyn struggled to build on the early score, missing their next two shots and committing three straight turnovers, before turning to Brook Lopez to generate offense. The center scored 12 points on an assortment of jumpers (5-10 FGs), offsetting a hot quarter for Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler (10 points, 4-4 FGs) and helping the Nets to pull ahead by the end of the period.
Chicago weathered the punch, opening the second quarter on a 9-0 run, against a Nets lineup featuring Williams, C.J. Watson, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and Andray Blatche, the latter of whom scored a few baskets on nifty moves to quell the momentum. The Bulls countered with an odd lineup, playing guards Nate Robinson, Kirk Hinrich and Marco Belinelli with forwards Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer.
The swaps continued with Lopez and Stackhouse replacing Wallace and Humphries, offering the Nets two 7-footers, which led the Bulls to sub in Noah for Gibson. The teams traded buckets during the next few minutes, notable for a tussle between Watson and Robinson, who started a play at halfcourt (Watson handling; Robinson pressing) and ended it tangled and tumbling into the scorer's table.
Williams finally began finding gaps in the previously impenetrable Chicago D, scoring two straight baskets and then finding Reggie Evans cutting down the middle for a layup. The Bulls again asserted momentum on a gradual 11-1 run, creating four turnovers and holding the Nets without a field goal for 4 1/2 minutes. Late buckets by Blatche, Williams and Wallace closed the gap, and Brooklyn headed into the locker room down only three.
The Nets were lucky to be so close, considering the Bulls shot .571 from the field and .500 (4-of-8) from three-point range. Point guard Williams has led the charge on multiple occasions, and Blatche's bench scoring proved crucial.
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Brooklyn Nets (1-3)
|G · Deron Williams||G · Joe Johnson||F · Gerald Wallace||F · Reggie Evans||C · Brook Lopez|
Chicago Bulls (3-1)
|G · Kirk Hinrich||G · Jimmy Butler||F · Luol Deng||F · Carlos Boozer||C · Joakim Noah|
Derrick Rose (left knee) is OUT.
Taj Gibson (left knee) is DAY-TO-DAY.
Joakim Noah (right foot) is DAY-TO-DAY.
For more, view the Game Photo Gallery
|26 PTS, 11 REB, 4 BLK, 2 STL
9-20 FGs, 7-9 FTs
|32 PTS, 10 AST, 2 BLK, STL
11-25 FGs, 5-11 3Ps, 5-7 FTs
|17 PTS, 9 REB, 4 AST, BLK, STL
5-9 FGs, 2-4 3Ps, 5-9 FTs
|"I try to take everything one day, one game at a time, and I think that's the best way to look at it right now: prepare for Monday.
" We're going to play in front of a great home crowd, and I think that gets us back here."