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Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Nets have to end United Center drought

By Mike Mazzeo



EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Brooklyn Nets have yet to win a game at the United Center this season.

They need to on Thursday night. Otherwise, they'll be eliminated from the playoffs.

"I don't think there's any magic to the building," interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said Wednesday. "I think it's the guys the white uniforms and the fact that we've done a poor job closing out."

Despite the fact that their backs are against the wall, the Nets remain confident.

If only they had closed out Game 4 in Chicago ...

"We definitely feel like we can win this series," Joe Johnson said. "It's not over until the first team gets four wins, so at this point we still have a shot."

Added Andray Blatche: "We put ourselves in a hole, so we've gotta dig out of it and win the next two games."

As practice was coming to a close, House of Pain's "Jump Around" could be heard blaring through speakers at the team's practice facility.

Yes, despite their predicament, the Nets remain a loose bunch.

"You have to be loose, relaxed, not put added pressure on yourself," Johnson said. "We're just trying to come out and execute the game plan that the coach is putting together."

"It's just our guys' nature. I'm sure the Bulls are confident too," Carlesimo said. "I think the two teams certainly respect each other and we've had enough close games. ... The teams know each other well. We're pretty close to each other. We finished four-five in the regular season, so I think both teams have reasons to be confident. It's just going to come down to which teams goes out there and plays better."

TOUGH ENOUGH? After Game 4, Taj Gibson said the Bulls are a tougher team.

"It doesn't matter, doesn't mean anything," Johnson said. "At this point, it's about who wants it bad enough. I think we definitely have to come out and be the more thirstier team. We've proven a lot in this series. Right now our backs are against the wall still and we have to go Chicago and win a game.

"The thing about who's tougher -- it doesn't matter at this point."

"He's supposed to say that, that's his team," Blatche said of Gibson. "If he said differently, I'm pretty sure his teammates would look at him different. ... [But] we're the tougher team. We gotta continue to show that and fight."

FINISH UP WRONG: In this series, Deron Williams is 4-for-17 in fourth quarters and overtimes.

BULLS UPDATE: Kirk Hinrich (calf) didn't do much at practice, according to the Bulls, and is listed as day to day for Game 6. Hinrich, who missed Game 5, said he's hopeful but still needs to improve, according to the team's Twitter feed. ... Luol Deng (illness) and Gibson (illness) missed Wednesday practice, but coach Tom Thibodeau is hopeful they'll both play.