GAME FIVE - TONIGHT
Barclays Center, Flatbush Avenue
BROOKLYN NETS - Inheriting An Old Refrain
For a new generation of Brooklyn sports fans, there is something a little old school about elimination games. The Borough knew them well. Too many came against the Yankees. There is a seldom recalled instance in 1916 against the Red Sox, and a much more famous occurrence which took place in '51 against the hated Giants at the Polo Grounds. The Hoops of Flatbush get to play on their turf tonight. They need to win in order to force a Game Five in Chicago. Should they loose, a circle of life will have made its round. A defeat at Barclays Center would revive the old Brooklyn refrain - Wait Till Next Year.
If the Nets didn't learn some very hard lessons after Game Four, then tonight will be an ever greater course to absorb. It's very simple - tonight is pass or fail. Missed dunks, and blown leads aside, when I look at the line-ups, I still see a better team in the Nets. Chicago has as much trouble scoring as the next team. I would like to think Nate Robinson's recent outburst was an aberration. Chicago will be without yet another player, Kirk Hinrich. No Derrick Rose - a suddenly recovered Joakim Noah.....ponderous. I know the Nets can do better. Games two, three and four were all frustratingly winnable. The Nets have all the extra help they could have hoped for. So, Game Five is set up for them to win.
But will they? Joe Johnson was a virtual hero in Game Four. However, it goes without saying Deron Williams still needs to lead his team to victory. Not Brook Lopez, not anyone else - Deron Williams needs to be Brooklyn's star, and rise up over Flatbush tonight. Fairly or not, if he doesn't, Deron could very well get blamed for dooming the third head coach of his career. In truth, P.J. Carlesimo only has forty-eight minutes left to figure out a course back to Chicago and back. Nothing after that is guaranteed.
We need part Gerald Wallace From Game One - part Joe Johnson from Game Three - the Deron Williams who reverse-dunked - and the continued all around solid play from Brook Lopez. With helpful contributions from the bench, I'll take my chances.
Get it done.