Nets win 110-91, cut Bulls' lead to 3-2
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NEW YORK — The Nets' first season in Brooklyn goes on, with another victory needed to set up the biggest game here yet.
Brook Lopez had 28 points and 10 rebounds, Deron Williams added 23 points and 10 assists, and the Nets beat Chicago 110-91 on Monday night, cutting the Bulls' lead to 3-2 in their first-round playoff series.
Andray Blatche scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and Gerald Wallace had consecutive baskets down the stretch as the Nets finally pulled away in a game they led most of the way, but never by too much.
"We came out very aggressive, as we have the past few games. I think the difference was just we sustained it for essentially a full 48 minutes tonight," Lopez said.
Two days after rallying for a 142-134 triple-overtime victory, the Bulls were outscored 15-1 down the stretch and failed to set up a second-round series with Miami. Instead they will host Game 6 on Thursday.
Nate Robinson had 20 points and eight assists starting in place of point guard Kirk Hinrich, who bruised his left calf in Saturday's game.
Robinson scored 29 of his 34 points after the third quarter Saturday in a game the Nets led by 14 late in regulation. Coming off his big game and agitating to opposing fans even when he's struggling, Robinson was loudly booed during introductions, and each time he touched the ball early on.
He made a jumper with 4:17 remaining to cut Brooklyn's lead to 95-90, but there would be no charge this time. Lopez converted a three-point play, and after a free throw by Jimmy Butler, Wallace nailed a 3-pointer, then came up with a steal and dunk to give the Nets a 103-91 advantage with 2 minutes to go.
The Nets finished it off with ease, extending their first season in Brooklyn after moving from New Jersey. They would host a Game 7 here on Saturday.
Butler scored 18 points for the Bulls, who were outrebounded 44-33 and gave up 24 second-chance points.
"That's the difference in the game, the rebounding," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "If you defend fairly well and then you give a team a second and a third crack at it, it's hard to win like that."
Only eight NBA teams have overcome a 3-1 deficit, but the Nets remained confident after Saturday's collapse, feeling they had outplayed the Bulls for long stretches during the series. They have led by double digits in four of the five games.
"I believed that we would respond," Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "We've bounced back all year too well, and as disheartening a loss as that was on Saturday, there's still been enough good minutes in this series. Neither of us are getting away from each other."
But they need two more wins against a Bulls franchise that is 12-0 all-time when holding a 3-1 lead.
The Nets ran off seven straight points late in the first quarter, five from Lopez, to turn a 17-17 tie into a 24-17 lead.
Brooklyn got eight second-quarter points from Kris Humphries, then opened its biggest lead when Johnson and Gerald Wallace made consecutive 3-pointers before Lopez made two free throws to make it 50-40. The Nets led 52-44 at the break.
The Nets had the lead into double digits a few times in the third quarter but never built on it. The Bulls were back within four by the end of the period after making 11 of 16 shots (69 percent).
Butler made a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter and make it a one-point game, but Chicago never could grab the lead in the final period.
The Nets improved to 6-0 all-time in Game 5s at home. They have never lost a series when holding home-court advantage.
Notes: Carlesimo said it wasn't hard to ignore thoughts about his own future because the games come too quickly to worry about anything else. Though the Nets gave general manager Billy King a contract extension last week, it is unknown if Carlesimo will be back after leading the Nets to a 35-19 mark after replacing the fired Avery Johnson in late December. ... A number of New York Islanders were in the crowd at the franchise's future home. The NHL team plans to move from Long Island to Barclays Center in 2015.
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