The end has not yet come for the Nets' seminal season in Brooklyn. It could not be finished off by the quicksilver draw of the pixie point guard who had put it on the brink. Nor by the rugged, yet, motley Bulls that outworked and played the Nets to that point in the series despite a decided star disadvantage. No, Game 5 resulted in a 110-91 win for the Nets. It was a 72-hour extension to prove that this combination of players – put together in the hope of victories and a marquee debut – could, at least, make it out of the first round. Though they still trail 3-2 in the series, and face a return to Chicago. As Gerald Wallace thundered home a dunk on a breakaway, extending the Nets' lead to 12 with two minutes remaining, it became obvious that there would be another game to play. The victory came under its own unique set of circumstances. Yes, it was Brook Lopez leading the team with 28 points and Deron Williams scoring 23 points of his own, to go with 10 assists. And Reggie Evans bruised his way to 12 more rebounds. But the win came despite the Bulls' entire starting five scoring in double figures. It came as the Nets recovered their balance in the fourth quarter, after frittering away a double-digit lead, because of the efforts of Andray Blatche. The mercurial center scored 10 points in the quarter, helping the Nets stave off a Bulls comeback. While he provided his own set of heroics, Robinson only scored four points in the fourth and the Bulls gave way in a game with obvious consequences. P.J. Carlesimo had put it bluntly enough before the game began. "It's as simple as it gets," he said. "You lose and you put the uniforms around. You win and you get to play again." It was a statement borne out of necessity as the Nets faced elimination on their home court. They had blown Game 4 in Chicago, putting themselves into a 3-1 hole. They returned to Brooklyn desperate and ragged. On this night, they played out on different terms.
Nets top Bulls 110-91 to survive, move series back to Chicago
Newark Star-Ledger | Apr 29