NEW YORK - Facing elimination, Brook Lopez scored 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Deron Williams added 23 points and 10 assists, leading the Brooklyn Nets to a convincing 110-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls in Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals Monday night at the Barclays Center.
The Brooklyn victory sliced the Bulls' lead in the series to 3-2 and sent the teams back to Chicago for Game 6 Thursday night.
It was a game where the Nets held the lead for most of the contest.
With the Bulls threatening another comeback in the fourth quarter, Gerald Wallace put the game away by nailing a long 3-pointer from the left corner, then getting a steal and subsequent slam dunk off a bad pass from Nate Robinson that pushed the lead to 103-91 with just two minutes remaining.
The Nets capped a 10-0 run in the closing minutes with a driving layup from Lopez. Brooklyn scored 33 points in the fourth quarter. The Nets held the Bulls scoreless for the final 3:43 of the game.
The Nets also received 13 points from Andray Blatche, 12 points from Wallace and 11 each from Joe Johnson and C.J. Watson.
The Bulls were led by Robinson, who had 20 points and eight assists. Jimmy Butler had 18 points and Luol Deng added 12 as all five Bulls starters reached double figures.
The Nets shot the ball very well in the first period, hitting 12 of their first 17 shots to take a 26-21 lead after one period. Lopez had nine points to pace the Nets, who took the lead courtesy of an early 8-0 run.
The Bulls came right back and took a 34-33 lead on a jumper from Deng, but then the Nets used a surprising shooting touch from Kris Humphries, who hit four jumpers from the foul line in the quarter, including two in a row. Lopez had a driving layup to give Brooklyn a 42-36 lead with 4:43 left in the half. Humphries had eight points in just nine minutes.
Lopez had an offensive rebound that Joakim Noah knocked aside for a goaltending call that pushed the lead to 10 at 52-42, giving Lopez 17 points at intermission.
Brooklyn led 52-44 at halftime.
Led by rebounding workhorse Reggie Evans, who collected 10 caroms, the Nets had a commanding 28-18 lead in rebounding at the half.
Lopez started the second half with a driving shot off the backboard for a 54-44 Brooklyn lead.
The Bulls cut the lead to 67-62 with five minutes left, but then Williams hit a huge pull-up 3-pointer and Evans had a rebound basket to push the lead to 74-65 with 3:56 remaining in the third period.
Williams had 13 points in the third quarter alone, as the Nets held a 77-73 lead after three periods. Deng hit a fall-away jumper at the buzzer to bring the Bulls to within four.
Butler started the fourth quarter with a long 3-pointer to bring Chicago to within 77-76.
But Blatche hit consecutive driving baskets to give the Nets an 83-78 lead with 10:14 left.
Blatche hit his third straight basket, a floating jumper in the lane, as the Nets held an 85-80 lead with 9:12 remaining.
NOTES: Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich was forced to sit out Game 5 with an injured left calf, leaving Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau with very few options at point guard. Thibodeau said that he was "undecided" about which player would start, just saying that Nate Robinson, rookie Marquis Teague and Marco Belinelli would all get a shot at trying to defend Nets standout Deron Williams. Robinson ended up getting the start. "With Kirk or without him, Deron is very difficult to defend. We're going to try to guard him with our entire team."...Remarkably, the Bulls never won four straight games in the regular season. "We don't get wrapped up in streaks," Thibodeau said. "We just worry about one game and know we have to play our best."...Some of former Nets center Jason Collins' teammates were asked to comment on Collins' admitting Monday in a Sports Illustrated article that he was gay. "It's an honor for me to call Jason Collins a friend," said Nets center Brook Lopez, who attended Stanford like Collins. "I admire his dignity as well as his courage to come out. I'll always have his back." Joe Johnson played in Atlanta with Collins last season. "Jason Collins was one of the best teammates I've ever had. I respect his tremendous courage to come out and I will always support him," Johnson said...The Nets entered Monday night's game having a 5-0 record in Game 5 of prior playoff series...Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo knew the importance of the game. "This is one where you can't pretend," Carlesimo said. "It's as simple as it gets. You lose, you put the uniforms away. You win and you pack up the black uniforms and go back to Chicago. Somehow, someway, we have to get it done."