Brooklyn Nets: NBA Playoffs 2013

W2W4: Nets vs. Bulls, Game 7

May, 4, 2013
The Brooklyn Nets will try to become just the ninth team in NBA history to rally back from 3-1 down to win a best-of-seven playoff series when they face the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night at Barclays Center in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:

WHAT’S AT STAKE: A chance to knock off the defending champions in Round 2. The winner of Saturday night’s game will take on the Miami Heat. Game 1 is Monday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. But P.J. Carlesimo, who has never won a playoff series as a head coach, is imploring his team not to look ahead. To paraphrase Carlesimo, if you start thinking about the next series, you won’t make it to the next series.

EXPERIENCE A PLUS: Five Nets -- Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans and Jerry Stackhouse -- have appeared in at least one Game 7 previously. On May 5, 2007, Williams had 20 points and 14 assists for the Utah Jazz in the deciding game of the Western Conference quarterfinals in Houston. The Jazz won 103-99. In the Chicago series, D-Will is averaging 20.0 points and 8.7 assists and shooting 41.6 percent from the field, but he’s just 3-for-12 in the fourth quarter. Tonight would be a perfect time for him to have his first memorable big-game moment.

BROOK-LYN: Brook Lopez had his worst game of the series in Game 6, shooting 7-for-18 from the field. But overall, he’s averaging 22.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocks against the Bulls and has been shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 87.8 percent from the free throw line. The Nets likely need a dominant game from Lopez to advance.

THE X FACTOR: Wallace got off to a bad start in this series and admitted he didn’t know what his role was. But in the past three games, he has averaged 14.7 points on 51.7 percent shooting and has made half of his six attempts from 3-point range. The Nets are a much more dangerous team offensively when defenses have to respect Wallace.

HOME ADVANTAGE: The Nets are 28-16 at Barclays Center (playoffs and regular season) and have won six of the past seven there. The Bulls are 0-6 all time in road Game 7s.

WOUNDED BULLS: Luol Deng (flu) is out. Kirk Hinrich (calf) is a game-time decision. Nate Robinson and Taj Gibson both gutted through the flu in Game 6 and might have to do so in Game 7, as well. Both are feeling better, according to coach Tom Thibodeau. Based on reports out of Chicago, it doesn’t appear likely that Derrick Rose will make his season debut Saturday night.

FORGETTING ABOUT THE PAST: The Nets obviously want to forget about Game 4 -- and the second half of Game 6. The Nets scored just 35 points in the second half of that game. Williams, Johnson and Lopez combined to go 5-for-17 from the field with five turnovers in the final 24 minutes, and Brooklyn went 13-for-23 from the charity stripe as a team in the second half.

HISTORY TELLS US: The Nets have played in only one other Game 7 in franchise history -- a road loss to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 East semis. The last playoff game in a major professional sport played in Brooklyn was Game 7 of the 1956 World Series -- Yankees 9, Dodgers 0. The last NBA team to come back from a 3-1 deficit was the 2006 Phoenix Suns in the West quarters.

D-Will's perfect Game 7 record on the line

May, 4, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Deron Williams has done this before.

Back on May 5, 2007, Williams had 20 points and 14 assists, leading the Utah Jazz to a 103-99 road victory over the Houston Rockets in Game 7 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.

D-Will considers that win perhaps the finest of his career.

“It’s win or go home,” Williams said Saturday morning before Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center.

“I’ve won the only one I’ve ever played in, so hopefully I can make it 2-0.”

P.J. Carlesimo, who has never won a playoff series as a head coach, was asked how confident his team was heading into this do-or-die elimination game.

“I think we’re very confident, and I’m glad we are, but it’s irrelevant,” Carlesimo replied.

“You’ve got to go out and you’ve gotta play for 48 minutes. I think we’re in a good place. I think they understand how hard they worked to get the thing back here for a Game 7, but at the same time, it’s meaningless if we don’t finish the job.”

Added Williams: “We’re confident. We did what we said we were gonna do: take it one game at a time. We got those two wins [with our backs against the wall], and now we’re in the position we’re in now.”

The Nets have a chance to become just the ninth team in NBA history to rally back from a 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven playoff series.

“We don’t pay attention as far as how many teams have come back from 3-1,” Joe Johnson said. “We’ve been confident from the start of this series, and our focus is Game 7 and just trying to come out and hit first.”

“Like I said all season, we’ve been resilient,” Williams said.

The Nets will face the Miami Heat in Round 2 if they win Saturday night.

“We’re not worried about Miami right now,” Williams said.

• The Nets reported no injuries, although Johnson (foot), Andray Blatche (calf) and Reggie Evans (illness) aren’t 100 percent. Still, everyone is expected to play.
Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz is certainly looking forward to Game 7.

"Our Brooklyn Nets' exciting win last night in the Windy City really 'blew' me away -- and now we are coming back to Barclays Center for the most important game in Brooklyn Nets history!" Markowitz said in a statement. "In Saturday night’s Game 7, with the loudest, most in-your-face fans in the country ‘blacking out’ Brooklyn, there is no doubt the Nets are going to give the ‘flu-ey’ Bulls the medicine they need -- an early exit from the playoffs and a one-way ticket back to Chicago for some rest and relaxation.

"Bring on the Heat and watch out Lebron James, because after this series the Brooklyn Nets have ice in their veins and are coming to ‘cool’ you down."
P.J. Carlesimo has never won a playoff series before as a head coach.

So what would it mean to the Brooklyn Nets interim coach to get a victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals?

“It would mean we’ve got to pack Sunday morning, get on a plane, do a quick turnaround and get ready for a really, really good opponent,” Carlesimo said Friday.

Carlesimo, who went 35-19 during the regular season after replacing Avery Johnson, has never been a head coach for a Game 7 either.

“Hopefully I’ll respond well, but fortunately I don’t have to play,” Carlesimo said. “I think the guys that are playing are going to handle it well, and that’s the important thing. We’ll be fine.”

Five of Carlesimo’s players have Game 7 experience: Joe Johnson (2-1), Jerry Stackhouse (2-1), Gerald Wallace (0-3), Deron Williams (1-0) and Reggie Evans (1-0).

“I don’t think Game 7 experience is going to be the defining reason for (who wins) tomorrow’s game,” Carlesimo said. “As is usually the case, the players are going to decide it, some guys are gonna step up and one team is going to play a little bit better than the other team, and that’s going to decide the game.”

Carlesimo wants all his players to be “relaxed and confident” when they take the court.

He believes his team has established the identity many believe its been missing all season.

“I think we’ve found it more and more as the year’s gone on, and I think that’s a natural thing,” Carlesimo said. “It’s the first time this group has been together. There’s not great continuity on this team even from the last couple years. Hopefully there will be going forward, but I do think now we’re 88 games into the regular season and the playoffs, and I think clearly there’s a collective persona with those 15 guys. And I do think it is the Brooklyn Nets, not a collection of individuals.”

Even though Johnson (foot) and Andray Blatche (calf) are banged up and Reggie Evans wasn’t feeling well going into Game 6, Carlesimo said he expects all of his players to be able to go on Saturday night.

The Bulls, on the other hand, may once again be short-handed. According to ESPN’s Nick Friedell, Luol Deng (flu) was hospitalized Friday and is doubtful for Game 7. Kirk Hinrich (calf), who has missed the last two games of the series, is a game-time decision and will travel. Nate Robinson (flu) and Taj Gibson (flu) are feeling better, and Joakim Noah (foot) appears to be fine as well. Thibodeau has gotten no indication that Derrick Rose will play in Game 7.

The Bulls are 0-6 all-time in road Game 7s. The Nets have played just one Game 7 in franchise history -- a road loss to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 East semis.

Nets tired of riding the L

May, 2, 2013
Taj GibsonJesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty ImagesThe Nets' efforts at the United Center this season have been futile.
CHICAGO -- With the season on the line, the Brooklyn Nets are going to have to figure out their issue with not being able to win on the Chicago Bulls’ home court.

With four defeats in the United Center this season, two of which came in the current first-round playoff series, the Nets’ efforts have been futile.

It’s enough to start thoughts of impending doom, especially with the Bulls just one victory from advancing and Thursday night’s Game 6 slated for the United Center. Yet if there is one thing the Nets seem to have as the walls start to close in, it is a sense of optimism.

The end result of the previous four games in Chicago is obvious to see. Reggie Evans chooses to see the progression the Nets have made, up to and including the fourth-quarter lead and triple-overtime loss in Game 4.

“It was a tough game,” Evans said before the Nets’ shootaround Thursday morning. “That was like an NBA classic. Triple overtime. Even when you have a game like that, even if you lose there isn’t a reason to hold your head down. You were on the road; you went triple overtime. We showed the world that we will not worry about that game.”

If the Nets’ convincing victory in Game 5 showed anything, it’s that they weren’t broken-hearted over losing a late lead and being on the brink of elimination.

“It showed a lot that we weren’t ready for the season to end,” Evans said. “Just to help some of the people in Brooklyn, our fans who were happy for us to come back and people that work there who were like, ‘Hey, we need y’all to win so we can come back to work.’ That’s just a good feeling. They’re depending on us. We have a lot of people depending on us, and we just trust in ourselves that we can come in and get a win.”

The intensity of the always-packed, always-intense United Center has proved itself as an advantage to the Bulls. Despite a number of injuries down the stretch, the Bulls still were able to end long winning streaks by the Miami Heat and New York Knicks on their home court. And they held off the Nets earlier in the series.

“It’s a tough building to play in, but I think it is a tough building to play in because of who you’re playing,” coach P.J. Carlesimo said. “Going back to [Chicago Stadium], it’s always been a great atmosphere playing here. But there were also years, not a lot of them, but years in between that it didn’t matter what the atmosphere was. You come in here and get wins. When the teams have been as good as they have been for most of that time, it’s been a tough building to play in.”

If there is a residual effect from the Game 4 loss, it isn’t one of disappointment but rather one of determination.

“We need a win,” Deron Williams said. “We haven’t won here yet so ... for some reason we haven’t been able to have success. We had chances. Obviously the last time we were here we blew that lead, so that is still fresh on our mind and we’re ready to go.”

Gimpy Nets look to get well in Game 6

May, 2, 2013
CHICAGO -- Neither team is very healthy right now, but the Chicago Bulls might have benefited more than the Brooklyn Nets from an extra day between Games 5 and 6.

The teams got a second day of rest having played Game 5 on Monday at Brooklyn and with Game 6 on Thursday night at Chicago.

Had Game 6 been on Wednesday night, the Bulls might have been weakened since both Taj Gibson and Luol Deng sat out of practice Wednesday with a flu bug. The Bulls are also trying to get Kirk Hinrich (calf) back on the court after he missed Game 5, while Joakim Noah deals with his plantar fasciitis.

The Nets have Joe Johnson still operating at well under 100 percent with his own plantar fasciitis, while Andray Blatche has a sore calf.

“It helped both of us,” interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said of the extra day off. “I think two weeks would be nice for both teams in trying to get guys healthy. Having two off is big and if somehow we can get it done tonight that’s going to be a big challenge for the next one.”

If there is a Game 7 it would will be after just one day off and take place on Saturday at Brooklyn.

“That’s playoffs, and more so the deeper you get in, you get to Games 5, 6 and 7 you usually get the quick turnarounds and unfortunately that’s the payback for the series lasting that long,” Carlesimo said. “That’s just the way it goes.”

As for the Bulls’ health affecting the Nets, Reggie Evans wasn’t going to waste any brain power on it.

“That’s their problem,” he said about Deng and Gibson feeling under the weather.

As for whether or not Hinrich plays?

“I won’t care if he played or he didn’t play,” Evans said. “That’s not my issue. All I can do is worry about my squad. I can’t worry about who they have dressing out or not dressing out.”

W2W4: Nets at Bulls, Game 6

May, 2, 2013
The Brooklyn Nets haven’t won a game in Chicago this season. That’ll have to change if they want to avoid playoff elimination. The Nets and Bulls meet at United Center on Thursday for Game 6 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:

LONG ODDS: The Nets have never won a playoff series when trailing 3-2 (0-3). They’ve also never forced a Game 7 when facing a playoff elimination Game 6. Whatever. Now’s the time to make history. The Nets believe they are still the better team in this series. They know that if not for a massive collapse in Game 4, they’d be the ones on the verge of advancing. The only way they’re going to force a Game 7 is if they win in an arena in which they’ve yet to win in four tries this season.

BROOK-LYN: Brook Lopez has been nothing short of dominant in the series. In five games against Chicago, Lopez is averaging 23.6 points and 8.0 rebounds. His 3.4 blocks per game in the postseason rank second to Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka, who is swatting 3.5 shots per contest. With their backs against the wall, the Nets need to get the ball to Lopez and let him go to work.

MISSING KIRK? Kirk Hinrich (calf) is likely out on Thursday night. That would help the Nets -- especially Deron Williams. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Williams is just 13-for-39 shooting during the series when guarded by Hinrich. In Game 5, however, he lit up Nate Robinson for 19 points on 6-for-10 from the field. Luol Deng and Taj Gibson (illness) will be game-time decisions for the Bulls.

JUST A DECOY: That’s what Joe Johnson, who is dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, claimed he is to reporters. Gamesmanship, perhaps? Johnson may not be having his best season as a pro, but as we saw in Game 4, he’s been making clutch shots. Interim coach P.J. Carlesimo called Johnson a warrior for gutting out minutes on essentially one leg. Whatever Johnson can give them is probably better than the alternative, anyway.

Nets have to end United Center drought

May, 1, 2013

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.

Brook Lopez playing career D

May, 1, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez is playing the best defense of his career.

Lopez ranks second in blocks per game during the 2013 playoffs, behind Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (3.5 to 3.4).

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Nets are giving up just 95.5 points per 100 possessions against the Chicago Bulls with Lopez on the court, compared to 118.9 without him.

"I just think I really have to attribute that to our team defense," Lopez said. "We've been improving as the year's gone on, and our trust levels have gone up as well."

Asked if he has been more aggressive on defense, Lopez responded, "Definitely. I'm that last line of defense."

Last season, Lopez played just five games due to a foot injury. "I'm honestly happy to be playing," he said. "It sucked to not be on the floor playing with my teammates. I wanted to get in a place where I wouldn't be able to get injured again and go out there and be able to play basketball and have fun."

This season, Lopez made his first All-Star team and finished fifth in the NBA in PER behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony.

In the postseason (five games), he's averaging 23.6 points and 8.0 rebounds on 49.9 percent shooting.

Power forward Reggie Evans recently referred to Lopez as a top-two center in the league.

TNT analysts and former stars Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal have also praised the 25-year-old.

"That's a huge honor," Lopez said. "Obviously it’s great to hear from a teammate and legends like Shaq and Charles Barkley. I'm very proud of that and I thank them for the compliment."

Lopez had his right ankle taped because of stiffness, but said he's fine. The Bulls will play Game 6 in Chicago at 8 p.m. Thursday, their second consecutive elimination game.

Joe Johnson: 'Basically, I'm a decoy'

May, 1, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson admitted that he's essentially playing on one leg at this point, and probably wouldn't be playing if it were the regular season.

Johnson is currently hampered by plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

[+] EnlargeLuol Deng and Joe Johnson
Don Emmert/AFP/Getty ImagesDespite his foot injury, Joe Johnson has hit some big shots for the Nets in this series.
"I can't really push the basketball if I get a rebound, I can't really run pick-and-rolls, so basically I'm a decoy, a spot-up shooter. I can't really do a whole lot," Johnson said. "Like I told Deron [Williams] and Brook [Lopez], I'll be the bailout guy. If you get into a sticky situation, just try and find me."

Johnson is averaging 16.2 points on 44.7 percent shooting in 39 minutes per game during the first five games of his team's first-round series against the Chicago Bulls. Game 6 is Thursday night at United Center; the Nets need to win to avoid elimination.

"I'm not concerned that Joe's playing injured [and] I'm not worried that he's going injure it any more," interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "It is what it is. He's playing, hindered or whatever is the correct word, and it's just he's dealing with it. I think that people probably don't appreciate what he's going through every game to go out there and to play.

"My doctors and trainers and Joe himself, we wouldn't put him out there if there was a chance he would injure it anymore. It's injured. He's done the damage right now and playing on it is not hurting it anymore."

Carlesimo gives Johnson credit for gutting it out.

"That's what warriors do. Everybody doesn't do that," Carlesimo said. "That's what guys who are warriors, guy who really are competitors, that's what they do."

Also on the injury front, backup center Andray Blatche (right calf strain) said he's going to receive treatment and hopes to be 90 percent by game time Thursday night. Blatche said he can give the Nets as many minutes as Carlesimo wants to give him.

Power forward Reggie Evans (illness) was not at practice, but will travel to Chicago and is expected to play in Game 6.

P.J. never questioned Nets' heart

April, 30, 2013
Brooklyn Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said he felt it was “important” for his players to hear a Chicago reporter calling them “gutless” and “heartless” during a television interview prior to Game 5 Monday night.

Did Carlesimo ever question his team’s guts and heart?

“No. Not at all,” Carlesimo said Tuesday during a conference call with reporters. “We’ve been, we’ve talked about it all year, we’re not an easy team to read. We’ve had some real disappointments. We’ve had some nights where we were just listless and got whacked and didn’t look very good, and you say to yourself, ‘Boy how are they gonna come back from this?’ And then the very next day, we play a really good game.

“I think we’re the opposite of that.”

Carlesimo expanded on why he decided to show his team the video. The Nets responded with a 110-91 rout of the Chicago Bulls to pull within 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. Game 6 is Thursday night at United Center.

“It was just one more thing where rather than do nothing, [I wanted to] do something,” he said. “Did it help 15 guys? No. But maybe it helped a couple guys, maybe it struck a chord with a couple guys.

“It was just an effort to do a little something. We knew we weren’t gonna do anything on the court or anything like that. I’m not a Knute Rockne speaker, so it was just something that hopefully would resonate with a couple of different people.”

Clearly, it did.

• Carlesimo said Andray Blatche’s calf is “very sore.” The interim coach pondered taking his backup center out of the game late in the fourth quarter, but Blatche wanted to play through it. He ended up scoring 10 of his 13 points in the final period.

Blatche originally hurt his calf in Game 4, then told reporters he re-aggravated it Monday night.

• Carlesimo delivered a money quote when he was asked about Joakim Noah’s toughness.

“He’s one of those guys you gotta put a wood stake through his heart,” Carlesimo said.

• The Nets have never won a playoff elimination Game 6 to force Game 7 in franchise history.

W2W4: Nets vs. Bulls, Game 5

April, 29, 2013
The Brooklyn Nets will look to stave off elimination on Monday night when they take on the Chicago Bulls in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Barclays Center.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Here's what we'll be watching for:

BACKS AGAINST THE WALL: For the Nets, it's win or go home. They have to win three games to avoid being ousted from the playoffs. The players all said they were focusing on Monday night and taking it one game a time.

Only eight teams in NBA history have come back from 3-1 down to win a best-of-7 playoff series.

LOOKING FORWARD: The Nets led by 14 points with less than three minutes remaining in Game 4, but lost the lead, and then the game in triple-overtime. It's going to be hard to forget about that loss, but they're going to have to with their backs against the wall.

NO HINRICH: Kirk Hinrich (bruised left calf) has been a pest against the Nets in this series on both ends of the floor, but he's out Monday night. Hinrich had 18 points and 14 assists in 60 minutes in Game 4. Nate Robinson is likely to start in Hinrich's place. He had 23 points in the fourth quarter -- including 12 straight to ignite Chicago's miraculous comeback.

BROOK-LYN: Brook Lopez is averaging 22.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.3 blocks during the series, while shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 90 percent from the free-throw line.

D-Will: 'Every game is an elimination game'

April, 29, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Brooklyn Nets know what's at stake on Monday night: their season.

"Every game is essentially Game 7 for us," Deron Williams said several hours before Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center. "Every game is an elimination game."

The Nets are just two days removed from their heartbreaking 142-134 triple-overtime loss in Chicago.

[+] EnlargeKirk Hinrich
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty ImagesThe Nets won't have to deal with Bulls point guard Kirk Hinrich, who played 60 minutes in Game 4.
"The last one definitely stung. It's definitely still there," Williams said. "There's a lot of frustration, a lot of looking back. You wish you could've done more or done something different. At the end of the day, it happened. It's one of those games where everything went wrong at once.

"We have a chance to make it right tonight."

Only eight teams in NBA history have rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven playoff series.

"It's happened before, so we know it could happen again," Joe Johnson said. "We've got to be a team on a mission. We gotta win three games in a row, and I think it's definitely possible."

The Nets, who are 5-0 all time in home Game 5s -- for what that's worth -- reported no injuries Monday, a victory considering how many minutes their starters played in Game 4.

"I'm sure we're in the same shape that the Bulls are in," interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "I think you see two tired teams. We may have to go to the bench a little more than normal ... but we'll see what happens.

"There's no question who should be the most desperate team. And there's no question who this game should mean more to, and our guys understand that."

Johnson said his left foot is "a little stiff," but added that he'll be fine.

"Come game time, I'll be ready," he said.

BULLS BANGED UP: The Bulls will be without starting point guard Kirk Hinrich (bruised left calf).

That could be a good thing for the Nets, given how well Hinrich has played at both ends of the floor.

"Him not playing is a big plus for us," Carlesimo said. "Whether we take advantage of it -- or the guy or guys who get to play more minutes take advantage of it -- remains to be seen."

Then again, no Hinrich means more Nate Robinson, who had 23 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter of Game 4.

Asked about Robinson, Carlesimo said, "We have to do a better job with some schemes. We have to try to get the ball out of his hands. Even so, some of [his baskets] were pick-and-rolls, some of them were screens and some of them were -- I don't even know what, some of the bank shots he made.

"That's Nate. That's what he can to. He, Jamal Crawford, J.R. [Smith], there's a couple guys in this league that can get in those kind of zones and it gets very difficult [to defend]. But we clearly have to help our guys, and if he does get going then we have to make adjustments, even if it means opening up some holes."

STICKS AND STONES: Responding to a Chicago media report that the Bulls wanted to play the Nets because they're "gutless" and "heartless," Johnson said, "Regardless of who they wanted to play -- whether they wanted to play us or not -- we're in a situation where our backs are against the wall, and we'll see how we respond tonight."

P.J.: Nets can still win this series

April, 28, 2013

Only eight teams in NBA history have rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-7 playoff series.

Brooklyn Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo believes that his team can be the ninth.

"We've been resilient all year," Carlesimo said during a Sunday conference call. "We know it should be 2-2. But it's not, it's 3-1, and that's our fault and we've got to deal with it. But we know how close it was to being 2-2 and a totally different scenario."

The Nets had a 14-point lead with less than three minutes remaining in Game 4. Then they had an epic meltdown and lost in three overtimes. Now they'll have to win the remaining three games of the series to stave off elimination and advance to Round 2.

[+] EnlargeP.J. Carlesimo and Gerald Wallace
Rob Grabowski/USA TODAY SportsP.J. Carlesimo, shown here with Gerald Wallace, doesn't want his team to dwell on Game 4.
"We have to move away from the disappointment and channel it, whether it becomes anger or resolve or whatever it is," Carlesimo said. "We can't focus on Saturday. We've got to focus on Monday.

"We've got to be ready tomorrow night at 7 o'clock and we've got a one-game season. It's as simple as that."

At this point, it literally is win or go home.

"And I think we'll respond to that," Carlesimo said. "I don't think it's difficult for our guys to feel we're capable of [coming back]. I think they feel we can beat the Bulls. Have we done it enough? No, we haven't done it enough. But they know we can do it. They know that this game is in Brooklyn and I do think they'll bounce back and I do think [winning this series] is doable. But we're not talking about anything but [Monday night]."

In Saturday's 142-134 heartbreaker, Deron Williams (58), Brook Lopez (51), Reggie Evans (50), Gerald Wallace (48) and Joe Johnson (48) all logged a ton of minutes.

"We're dinged up," Carlesimo said. "All we did today is treatment. There's about six or seven guys here right now. I think everybody's sore. I'm sure Chicago is sore also. I think guys are not gonna be 100 percent tomorrow, and we may have to play some other people a few more minutes than we normally would.

"It'll depend how the game goes when the timeouts come and what kind of game it is. But at this point right now, I don't think anybody is injured to the extent that they won't play tomorrow."

Will Carlesimo show his players video of their collapse?

"I think tomorrow is about being positive and it's really important for us to look ahead and not backwards," he said, adding that he might show parts of the final three minutes, but only as teaching points.

"There will be enough motivation where they're not going to forget about what happened on Saturday, but I think we need to dwell on Monday and not Saturday."

WHERE'S BOGANS? Keith Bogans has not played yet in the series. Carlesimo said it was a difficult decision, but felt like with the rotation shortened, MarShon Brooks would be better served to get occasional minutes because of his offensive ability.

BROOK BRINGS IT: Brook Lopez is averaging 22.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.3 blocks during the series, while shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 90 percent from the free-throw line.

Momentum shifted after C.J.'s miss

April, 28, 2013

Different scenario. Different result.

With 48 seconds left in the first quarter of Saturday's Game 4 loss, Brooklyn Nets point guard C.J. Watson got a steal at halfcourt, then easily dribbled to the basket and finished a layup at the rim to give his team a 26-21 lead.

But with 3:16 remaining in the fourth quarter, Watson missed a two-handed dunk with no one near him that would've given the Nets a 111-95 edge over the Chicago Bulls.

You know what happened after that.

Nate Robinson scored 12 straight points and the Bulls closed on a 16-2 run over the final 2 minutes, 53 seconds of regulation to send the game into overtime. During that span, Reggie Evans and Gerald Wallace combined to go 0-for-4 from the free-throw line, Deron Williams foolishly fouled Robinson behind the 3-point line -- three successful free throws ensued -- and the Nets were whistled for a five-second violation.

Watson's missed dunk didn't cost Brooklyn the game. But it was certainly a momentum-changer.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Nets were shooting 60.6 percent from the field before Watson's miss. They went just 8-for-31 from the field the rest of the way, including 0-for-9 from 3-point range. Williams missed seven of his last eight shots, making only one basket during the three overtime periods.

The last time Watson converted a dunk in a game was against Philadelphia on Dec. 21, 2010, when he was with Chicago. According to, he hadn't attempted a dunk in a game since then prior to Saturday.



Joe Johnson
16.7 3.8 1.0 34.9
ReboundsK. Garnett 8.0
AssistsD. Williams 6.8
StealsD. Williams 1.1
BlocksB. Lopez 1.6