May 4, 2013 Game 7: Chicago Bulls 99, Brooklyn Nets 93
In their first playoff series in Brooklyn, the fourth-seeded Nets fought back from a 3-1 series deficit against the fifth-seeded Chicago Bulls to force a deciding game 7 in Brooklyn. The Nets seemed to have the upper hand in the climactic game against an undermanned Bulls team. Undermanned would be a litote, as the Derrick Rose-less Bulls entered the game without starting point guard Kirk Hinrich, after having already lost their All-Star forward Luol Deng, who went to the hospital just prior to Game 6 with a mysterious illness that required a spinal tap.
But if the Nets had the upper hand on paper, it didn’t show up on the court in the first half. The gritty Bulls opened up a 61-44 lead at halftime, led by Brooklyn native/All-NBA Facial Expression team member Joakim Noah and reserve guard Marco Belinelli.
The Nets would fight back in the second half on the strength of their two best players, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez. But their third-best player forget to show up, as a plantar fasciitis-ridden Joe Johnson went 2-14 from the field, and Brooklyn’s season ended with a six point loss.
Basketball was over in Brooklyn for the 2013-14 season, but the action was not. The Nets relieved interim coach P.J. Carlesimo and his mustard suits of coaching duties less than 24 hours after the loss. Jason Kidd was named his replacement just over a month later. Less than a month after that came a draft-ay trade in principle that brought Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn.
So if Paul Pierce hits a big shot in Sunday’s game to help even the Brooklyn Nets record in Game 7s, just remember, that’s why they got him here.