Nets' rally fizzles in 79-76 playoff loss to Bulls

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 25, 2013 at 11:49 pm •  Published: April 25, 2013
Advertisement
;

"I felt pretty good the whole game, other than probably about the last two to three minutes. It had kind of tightened up," Johnson said. "But other than that, I felt all right."

The Nets cruised to an easy victory in the playoff opener and flopped in Game 2, when they managed only 11 points in the third period of a 90-82 loss on Monday night that handed home-court advantage to the Bulls. There was no word on Johnson until the starting lineups came out right before Game 3, but Carlesimo was more focused on Brooklyn playing with more aggression and getting off to a fast start than whether the guard was going to be able to play.

That emphasis worked at the beginning, but it quickly fell apart when the Nets went cold again on offense and the Bulls started to find their rhythm on both ends of the court.

"They came out and jumped on us pretty good," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "So we had to dig out of that hole. Once we did that, I thought for the most part in the second and third quarters we played well."

Williams had eight quick points, matching his total from all of Game 2 and helping Brooklyn to a 17-5 lead with 6:25 left in the first quarter. The Nets then went scoreless for the next 6½ minutes and missed 25 of 26 shots overall while Chicago moved in front.

Hinrich made a layup, Marco Belinelli hit two foul shots and Boozer made a jumper to close out a 28-4 blitz that made it 33-21 with 5 minutes left in the half. But the biggest highlight was a pick and roll with Robinson and Taj Gibson, who finished it off with a poster-worthy dunk over Kris Humphries.

"It's been very difficult for us to finish, we have been struggling inside and we can't win if you're not making shots in the paint," Carlesimo said.

NOTES: The Bulls handed out red flashlight key chains as part of their "See Red" playoff campaign, and the lights dotted the stands when Chicago's starting lineup was announced. ... The Nets haven't won a road playoff game since a 96-91 victory at Toronto on April 21, 2007. ... Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen, who helped the Bulls win six NBA championships in the 1990s, received a huge ovation when he was shown on the videoboard in the first half.

___

Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap