Nets 93, Bulls 89By The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Fri, Feb 1, 2013 10:20 PM EST
BY JIM HAGUE NEW YORK -- Brook Lopez scored 20 points and MarShon Brooks provided a huge lift off the bench with 13, leading the Brooklyn Nets to a come-from-behind 93-89 victory over the undermanned Chicago Bulls Friday night at the Barclays Center. The win was just the second in their last five games for the Nets (28-17), while the Bulls (28-19) fell for only the second time in their last seven games and the third time in their last 11. The Bulls, already without former league MVP Derrick Rose, were without Kirk Hinrich (elbow), Joakim Noah (foot) and Carlos Boozer (hamstring), yet still managed to hang with the Nets until the final seconds. Besides Lopez and Brooks, the Nets received 13 points from Joe Johnson and 11 each from Deron Williams and Andray Blatche. Blatche had nine of his 11 points in the fourth quarter. The Bulls were led by Luol Deng and Marco Belinelli, who had 18 points each, and Taj Gibson, who had 16 points. Nate Robinson had 12 points and 11 assists. Jimmy Butler also had 12 for the Bulls. The Nets almost blew the lead in the final seconds. Holding a four-point lead and the ball, Gerald Wallace fumbled the inbounds pass and Deng scored, cutting the lead to 91-89 with 18 seconds left. But former Bull C.J. Watson made two free throws with 13 seconds left and the Bulls missed their last two shots in closing seconds, securing the Nets' win. The Nets had their way with the undermanned Bulls throughout the first quarter, who led by as many as 12 (24-12) and held Chicago to 14 points in the first period, the fewest points surrendered in a first period by Brooklyn all season. Lopez had seven and Reggie Evans, who usually contributes next to nothing offensively, adding six. Evans did not score a single point in the prior three games. But the Bulls' second unit took over in the second quarter, led by Marco Belinelli and Taj Gibson, who had eight points each. Gibson had two monstrous dunks. The Bulls took their first lead of the game on a 3-pointer from Deng, putting Chicago ahead, 42-39, with 51.2 seconds left. Lopez scored on a slam in the closing seconds, as the Bulls took a surprising 42-41 lead into the locker room at the half. The Nets suffered a crushing blow in the late stages of the second quarter, when Williams went down, clutching his right leg and ankle. He went to the locker room with the Nets' training group, but returned to start the second half. Deng had 13 to pace the Bulls at the half, while Lopez had 11 to lead Brooklyn. The Bulls took a six-point lead in the opening stages of the third quarter, thanks to two more rim wrecking dunks from Gibson and a driving move by Jimmy Butler, giving Chicago a 51-45 advantage. Technical fouls to Richard Hamilton and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau enabled the Nets to crawl to within 51-49 with six minutes left, then Keith Bogans nailed a 3-pointer and the Nets had the lead at 54-53 with 5:45 left. Deng had an offensive rebound off a bad miss from Robinson and the Bulls had a 61-58 lead with 2:52 left in the third. Robinson hit two free throws with 3.8 seconds left in the third to give the Bulls a 67-63 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Brooks scored the first five points of the fourth quarter on a strong drive and a long 3-pointer, putting Brooklyn back in front at 68-67 just 40 seconds into the final period. Watson nailed a 3-pointer against his former teammates and pushed the Nets lead to 77-73 with 7:01 remaining. Blatche, saddled with foul trouble all night, made a solid move close to the basket, giving the Nets a 79-73 lead, capping an 11-2 run and giving the Nets their biggest lead since the early portion of the second quarter. NOTES: The Bulls were extremely shorthanded entering Friday night's game. Before the game, the team announced that Kirk Hinrich went back to Chicago to have his right elbow examined. He will be re-evaluated after an examination and his status moving forward was undetermined. The team also announced that Joakim Noah (right foot) and Carlos Boozer (right hamstring) would not play. Boozer is the team's second-leading scorer and Noah is third behind Luol Deng. ... Carlesimo said that the Nets planned to do nothing different even with the absences in the Bulls' lineup. "We don't change the game plan," Carlesimo said. "It's significant if they're out, but you still have to go and play the game. I don't expect them all not to play." ... Carlesimo also spoke pre-game of facing the Eastern Conference top teams in consecutive games. "It's like going for root canal more than once in a week," Carlesimo said. "It's a little difficult. They get up and down the floor and we have a problem with teams that get up and down the floor." ... The Bulls entered the game winning five of their last six games and eight of their last 10.
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