Nets Do It All Offensively To Stay Alive

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BROOKLYN –
When you score 110 points in a slow-paced playoff game against a top-five defense, you’re doing a lot of things right. And the Brooklyn Nets did a lot right in their 110-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday, avoiding elimination and sending this first round series back to Chicago for Game 6 on Thursday (8 p.m. ET, TNT).

There are four factors when it comes to scoring efficiency: Shooting from the field, turnovers, free throws, and offensive rebounds.

The Nets shot 50 percent from the field and 6-for-17 from 3-point range. Check.

The Nets committed just 11 turnovers, zero in the fourth quarter. Check.

The Nets got to the line 23 times and connected on 20 of the 23 attempts. Check.

The Nets grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and turned them into 24 second-chance points. Check.

All those checks enabled the Nets to survive a gut-check. They rebounded (literally and figuratively) from Saturday’s heartbreaking loss in Game 4, answered some questions about their heart and resilience, and put themselves in position to bring this series back to Brooklyn for Game 7 on Saturday.

And don’t let the final score fool you. The game was very much up for grabs late in the game. After leading by as many as 10 points in the third quarter, the Nets were up just one after Jimmy Butler began the fourth with a 3-pointer. They were still up only five with a little over four minutes to go.

At that point, any observer still had Saturday’s collapse – a 14-point lead gone in less than three minutes – fresh in their mind. But this was a different night, one in which the Bulls couldn’t stop the Nets, who didn’t go more than two straight possessions without a score over the final 32 minutes.

“The difference tonight was that we were able to sustain it for essentially a full 48 minutes,” Brook Lopez said afterward. “We really came together as a team, played through the entire shot clock, and turned our good looks into great looks.”

Brooklyn scored at least 25 points in each quarter and went off for 33 over the final 12 minutes. And they got critical contributions from everywhere.

Deron Williams clearly knew he could take advantage of the absence of Kirk Hinrich and a mismatch with Nate Robinson. He pushed the ball down the floor, got the Nets into their offense early, and took Robinson into the paint, totaling 23 points and 10 assists.

Lopez took advantage of the Bulls’ heavy strong-side defense by flashing from the weak side and attacking the basket. He shot 10-for-14 in the paint and registered 28 points and 10 rebounds.

Andray Blatche was good Andray Blatche on this particular night, mostly staying in control and scoring 10 of his 13 points in the critical fourth quarter. The Lopez-Blatche combo was a plus-14 in eight minutes on Monday and is now a plus-38 for the series.

And the much maligned Gerald Wallace came up huge in the final minutes, opening the game up with a sequence in which he drained a corner three, stole a Nate Robinson pass, and turned it into a breakaway dunk on the other end.

This is who the Nets can be. They ranked ninth in offensive efficiency this season, but have the personnel to be a top-five team on that end of the floor. They have three guys – Williams, Lopez and Joe Johnson – they can run their offense through. With Hinrich out and Joakim Noah still somewhat hindered by plantar fasciitis, they have distinct matchup advantages. And with the Bulls so limited offensively, they have plenty of opportunities to run the floor. They registered 21 fast break points on Monday.

It’s just a matter of energy and execution, keeping the ball and the players moving. If you have the talent, there are ways to beat the Bulls’ defense. The Nets have now played well offensively in three of the five games in this series.

“I believed we would respond,” Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo said. “As disheartening a loss as Saturday was, there have still been enough good minutes in this series.”

Indeed. Though they’re down 3-2, the Nets have now outscored the Bulls by 17 points over the five games. If they can keep that point differential moving in their favor on Thursday, they’ll have a Game 7 on their home floor, and Saturday’s collapse will be long forgotten.

12 Comments

  1. Big Al 23 says:

    Where does Adrian say he wants Heat players injured???? Try reading the comments fully before jumping to conclusions.
    Bulls v Heat would be a physical series and could well lead to players from both sides getting banged up as there’s no love lost. Paranoid Heat fans as usual.

    • carlos says:

      to big al 23 are u serious he says maybe get 1 or 2 het players get injured so……that really shame to desire bad luchk on somebody your just a heat heater messing with we heat fans ands yes the heat the best even if the get somedoby injured

      • penguinmonkey says:

        im pretty sure adrian was advocating for the heat. he does not want for the bulls to injure the heat players but he knows how physically they play and that by playing so physically they will most likely injure one of the players. and that is not good. adrian never says they should injure the players just that the way they physically play could injure the players and ruin their chances at winning

  2. LordP says:

    Adrian you made a such dumb comment..Loser thoughts..Shame on you

  3. Sammy says:

    @Adrian I find it absolutely disgusting that you would want a player to get injured.

    I’m happy the Nets were able to pull a win.

  4. NaughtyNany says:

    Adrian to desire an injury to any player in any team is just unacceptable.
    Careful with Karma
    Heat WILL beat any team which stands in their way!!!!!!

  5. NaughtyNany says:

    To desire an injury to any player in any team is just F**Ked Up.
    You must be a real hater Adrain to say such a thing
    Heat WILL beat any team which stands in their way!!!!!!

  6. robert says:

    great game between bulls and heats for 2nd round..

  7. This is a really great series…but I hope the bulls can continue their play…they can bang up the heat on the playoffs since they were the ones who ended the streak