Game 5 · April 29, 2013 · Barclays Center · Brooklyn
Ben Couch · BROOKLYNNETS.COM
By Ben Couch
BROOKLYN—Monday at Barclays Center, the Nets beat the Bulls, 110-91. Brook Lopez led Brooklyn with 28 points on 11-of-20 shooting (6-7 FTs), also pulling down 10 rebounds. Reggie Evans posted a team-high 10 rebounds; Deron Williams, 10 assists (in addition to 23 points).
This was Game Five of a seven-game First Round series that the Bulls lead, 3-2. Game Six is scheduled for Thursday at United Center in Chicago.
FINAL: Nets 110, Bulls 91
The Nets came out of the halftime locker room firing, with Brook Lopez and Deron Williams scoring the team's first 11 points. Gerald Wallace snapped strings on a three-pointer to put the Nets up 11, and Brooklyn seemed primed to put the Bulls on their back. Though Chicago closed within five midway through the period, forcing a timeout, Lopez and Williams scored consecutive buckets to re-extend the lead.
And yet the Bulls once again clawed back: Luol Deng's pullup in the lane with 1.4 seconds remaining left Chicago trailing by only four heading into the final period, setting up a to-the-final-moments finish seemingly inevitable for this closely contested series. The Bulls opened the fourth-quarter scoring with a three-pointer by Jimmy Butler, and the Nets answered with a 6-2 run that caused Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau to call a quick timeout and settle his team.
Backup center Andray Blatche wouldn't relent, completing a stretch in which he scored 10 of 12 Nets points to maintain the advantage, which eventually grew to eight, four minutes from the finish. After the teams traded buckets, Gerald Wallace not only hit a corner three, but also followed it with a steal and thunderous dunk, leaving the Nets up 12 in the final two minutes.
The gutty performance, which pulled the Nets within a victory of forcing a seventh and deciding game, revealed Brooklyn's gameplan for further extending the series: aggressive inside play complemented by enough outside shooting to keep the Bulls honest, whether it's from three-point range or midrange. Transition offense (21 fast-break points Monday) also helps to prevent Chicago from setting its defense, which becomes stingier the deeper an opponent becomes mired in shot clock quicksand.
Visit Nets Playoff Central for more on Nets vs. Bulls.
The Nets-Bulls First Round series returned to Barclays Center for Game Five, and the Nets opened up with a stop as their before Joe Johnson opened the scoring with a floater out of the post. They opened an 8-4 lead halfway through the first quarter, forcing a Chicago timeout after a Deron Williams steal led to a Gerald Wallace dunk on the break.
Brooklyn kept on the pressure early, scoring 18 points in the paint to enter the second with a 26-21 lead. Brook Lopez (11 points, 4-7 FGs, 3-4 FTs) aggressively attacked the rim, but the Bulls charged back with him on the bench, taking their first lead since the early moments at 32-31 on a dunk by Taj Gibson. But as Brooklyn's starters began trickling back into the lineup, they took advantage of sagging defenders as Kris Humphries converted 4-of-5 jumpers (8 points), bridging the offensive output to late three-pointers stretched the lead to its peak height of 10.
After taking an early lead, the Nets held onto it for much of the first half, trading buckets when it got close and wresting control in the final minutes before the break. Lopez's strong inside play has created opportunities for the himself and for others, and everyone's taken advantage, from Humphries to Gerald Wallace (1-2 3Ps).
Though Brooklyn led throughout the second half of Saturday's Game Four, Chicago and specifically Nate Robinson came back furiously in the game's final three minutes, erasing a 14-point deficit. Tonight, the Nets will have a supportive crowd at Barclays Center rooting them on, and allowing the focus to remain on closing out the game, no matter what it takes. A victory gets them to Game Six. As interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo said pregame:
"If you're thinking about anything else, you're wasting your time."
Brooklyn Nets (2-3)
|G · Deron Williams||G · Joe Johnson||F · Gerald Wallace||F · Reggie Evans||C · Brook Lopez|
Chicago Bulls (3-2)
|G · Nate Robinson||G · Jimmy Butler||F · Luol Deng||F · Carlos Boozer||C · Joakim Noah|
Derrick Rose (left knee) is OUT.
Kirk Hinrich (bruised left calf) is OUT.
Vladimir Radmanovic (back) is DAY-TO-DAY.
Joakim Noah (right foot) is DAY-TO-DAY.
For more, view the Game Photo Gallery
|28 PTS, 10 REB
11-20 FGs, 6-7 FTs
|23 PTS, 10 AST
6-14 FGs, 9-10 FTs
|"We were just focused. We weren’t ready to go home."|