Monday, April 29, 2013

Andray Blatche Leads Late Charge As Brooklyn Nets Force Game Six In Chicago

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

It's The Late Show With Your Host - Andray Blatche.
Chicago Bulls Night In Brooklyn Ends With CRASH!
Game Five Final
BULLS   91
NETS    110
Chicago Leads Series 3-2

Game Six - Thursday

Nate Robinson was at it again, with ten points in the first half.  But the Nets arrived on Flatbush Avenue this evening with Brooklyn Pride.  Led by Brook Lopez' seventeen points, the Nets took a 52-44 lead into the break.  Brooklyn's center also pulled down four rebounds - three on the offensive boards.  In fact, the Nets renewed effort on the boards was clear early in Game Five.  Brooklyn out-rebounded the Bulls by a 28-18 margin.  Reggie Evans was the only player to reach double-digit rebounds, pulling down ten boards, with eight coming on the defensive glass.  Deron Williams dropped eight points and assisted five times.  Joe Johnson had seven first half points.  Next to Brook Lopez, give credit to Kris Humphries for providing a spark off the bench, and lending some interior size, to go along with his eight points and four rebounds in nine minutes.  The Nets shot horribly from beyond the arch - 20% off two for ten shooting.  Otherwise, they shot 47.7% from the field versus 42.9% for Chicago.

Two minutes into the third quarter, the Nets led 59-49 to match their largest lead of the game.  With seven minutes left, Deron Williams scored his ninth point of the quarter to help keep the Bulls at bay.  But by the 5:30 mark, Chicago closed to within five points.  With just under five minutes left, Deron Williams nailed a three to put the Nets up (72-62) by ten again.  Joe Johnson was still toiling along with only seven points, and took a seat with four minutes left in the quarter.  With  2:34 left, C.J. Watson benefited from a friendly rim to give the Nets a 76-67 lead.  But with 1:14 to go, the Bulls were within two.  Nets shooting was hovering at 48% by the close of the third.  Chicago won the quarter 29-25, shooting a much improved 50% from the floor.  Deron Williams missed a three in the closing minute, while Nate Robinson was leading the Bulls with sixteen points.  As the third quarter buzzer sounded, the Nets lead stood at four, 77-73, with twelve minutes left on the Flatbush night.

With Deron Williams and Brook Lopez on the bench to open the fourth quarter, Nate Robinson scored his seventeenth and eighteenth points of the game to bring the Bulls within one point of Brooklyn.  But Gerald Wallace turned fading momentum around with a steal, and led a fast break with Andray Blatche filling the lane,who converted a lay-up.  At 9:24, Andray Blatche secured an offensive rebound and dropped a floater for two points, putting Brooklyn up by five again.  After an exchange of misses held the score at 87-84, Andray Blatche drove the lane at 6:58 and was victimized by a clear flagrant foul committed by Marco Belinelli.  By 6:09, Blatche was clearly exerting a huge impact on the fourth quarter with thirteen points.  With 4:29 left in regulation, the Brooklyn Nets were trying to protect and expand upon a 93-88 lead, as Chicago was now shooting upwards of 52.9% from the floor.  Nate Robinson shortly made it a 95-90 game, but Brook Lopez promptly answered at the other end with a baseline slam, and converted a foul to make it a 98-90 affair.

The three minute mark decended upon Barclays Center with the Bulls now shooting 54% from the field.  At 2:22, Brooklyn regained a ten point, 101-91 lead off Gerald Wallace's three pointer.  Then at the defensive end, Crash picked off a key pass, and finished emphatically at the offensive rim to give Brooklyn a 103-91 lead with two minutes to go.

Great baseline defense with 1:40 on the clock induced a Chicago turnover.  Deron Williams then took the ball up-court and connected with Brook Lopez to complete a 10-1 Brooklyn run, and bumping up the game score to a 105-91 spread.  At 1:01, the Brooklyn crowd rose to its feet and showered their club with thunderous applause of appreciation.  With fifty-six seconds left, Deron Williams departed the floor with twenty-three points, and a game high ten assists.  When the final buzzer sounded, Billy King headed back into the corridors of Barclays Center with a big smile on his face.  P.J. Carlesimo gets to coach another day.

Consistent throughout his first ever playoff series, Brook Lopez imposed himself in Game Five, finishing with a game high twenty-eight points, and ten rebounds.  Reggie Evans led all players with twelve rebounds.  Kris Humphries added six, and Blatche had five.  Brooklyn won the overall battle of the glass, 44-33.  Gerald Wallace's twenty-nine minutes were filled with pure impact.  The timeliness of his twelve points, two steals, and two blocks were impeccable.  It was good to see him punctuate the night late in the game, and effectively end any Bulls' notion of a comeback.

On to Chicago for Game Six.  There is now only one matter at hand - the next forty-eight minutes of basketball.  Were it not for beating themselves, all five games have been within Brooklyn's reach.  There is no reason for me to think Game Six will evolve otherwise.  The Nets can not afford to take a minute off on defense.  That's given.  But Game Five proves the Nets do not have to out-shoot Chicago.  The Nets merely need to avoid shooting 33% from the floor, which, on a regular basis, possesses them like the devil.

The differences in shooting from Game One to Games Two and Three were like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  That's the Nets.  Deron Williams shot nine of fifteen in the opener.  In the follow-up, he shot a dismal one of nine from the field.  Joe Johnson hit seven of thirteen in Game One, and regressed to six of eighteen in the second game.  In their Game One winner, the team shot 55% from the floor, then only 34.5% over the next two losses.  In the Game Five triple overtime chiller, the Nets were back up to 49.5% - but triple O.T. - is what it is.  On Monday evening, Brooklyn finished the evening shooting an even fifty percent.  As has been their trend all season, the Nets are literally a hit or miss team.  Their winning formula is simple, shoot better than thirty-three percent.  If they do that, the Nets will defeat the Bulls in Chicago, and bring a Game Seven back to Flatbush Avenue.


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