After each game of this series, I’m going to look at how the losing team can adjust their tactics and try to flip the script in the next game.
So, after the Nets snapped a three-game losing streak and won Game 5 to pull to within 3-2 in the series and send it back to Chicago for Game 6 on Thursday, it’s finally up to the Bulls to have to respond to a loss. This time, they’ll hope to find a way to come away with a win on their home court to close out the series and end the Nets’ season.
With that said, here are three things they could do to try and accomplish just that:
1. Control the tempo
I’ve been banging the drum on the same topic all series long: if the Nets are able to get to 95 points, they will likely come away with a win win. If they can’t, they’re likely to lose.
That’s because the Bulls not only have trouble scoring, only getting above 91 points once in the series – and that came in Saturday’s triple-overtime win in a game the Nets held a 14-point lead with three minutes to go in regulation before giving it away – but the Bulls are also better to win games that are fought in the trenches, so to speak, like their 90-82 win in Game 2, and their 79-76 win in Game 3.
Playing in their building and in front of their home fans, the Bulls need to keep this game at their kind of pace. If they can, it will make the Nets’ task of winning in United Center even tougher, as not only will they have to beat the Bulls on the road, but beat them at their own game.
2. Keep the Nets off the glass, and limit second-chance points
In the first four games of the series, the Nets had a combined 38 second-chance points, and had 10 or less in three of the four games. But then Game 5 happened, when the Nets finished with 24 second-chance points, including eight in the fourth-quarter alone.