- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Brooklyn Nets will attempt to avoid going down 3-1 to the Chicago Bulls when the two teams meet in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Saturday at the United Center. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:
MUST WIN: According to whowins.com, teams that go up 3-1 in a best-of-seven NBA conference quarterfinal series are 82-3 in those series all time. That’s why it’s imperative that the Nets even things up against the Bulls, who held Brooklyn to 35.4 percent shooting in Game 2 and 34.6 percent in Game 3.
CAN’T WIN IF YOU CAN’T SCORE: A 1-for-25 stretch like the Nets had in Game 3, during which the Nets were outscored 28-4, can’t happen again in Game 4 -- not if Brooklyn wants to win. Interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said he doesn’t plan on changing his starting five, but won’t be afraid to go to his bench quickly if his team goes through another long scoring lull.
GOTTA DELIVER: Deron Williams has shot just 6-for-23 from the field in the past two games. Gerald Wallace has shot just 3-for-15, and is uncertain of what his role is. The Nets need better production from both players, who signed offseason contract extensions totaling $138 million.
HOW WILL JOE BE? Joe Johnson, who received a cortisone shot to ease the pain in his left foot before Game 3, scored 15 points in 41 minutes. He told reporters in Chicago that he’s fine, and the Nets are likely going to need him to play big minutes in Game 4 -- and produce.
BROOK-LYN: Can’t say anything bad about the way Brook Lopez is playing. In the first three games of the series, Lopez is averaging 21.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 blocks, while shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 95.2 percent from the foul line.
LAST RESORT: MarShon Brooks has played 15 minutes the entire series -- 12 of them in Game 3. “It seems like I’m the last resort, honestly,” Brooks told Newsday. “If things aren’t going well for the team, throw MarShon out there. That’s been the rhythm all year. I kind of know when my name is going to be called, in a sense.”
The Brooklyn Nets will attempt to avoid going down 3-1 to the Chicago Bulls when the two teams meet in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Saturday at the United Center.