The fourth seed Brooklyn Nets defeated the fifth seed Chicago Bulls 95-92 Thursday night in Chicago to tie up the series 3-3, forcing a deciding Game 7 in Brooklyn on Saturday, May 5th. The game time is 8 P.M., with coverage beginning 7:30 P.M. on YES Network.
In order to play the game on Saturday, the Rihanna concert originally scheduled at the Barclays Center on Saturday has been moved to evening of Tuesday, May 7.
The game comes just a week after the Nets blew a 109-95 lead in the fourth quarter of Game 4 to lose 134-142 in triple overtime, and fall behind 3-1 in the series. After a 110-91 win in Brooklyn on Monday night in Game 5, the Nets defeated a depleted Bulls team in Chicago Thursday night to extend the series to the maximum seventh game. Bulls point guard Kirk Hinrich missed his second straight game with a bruised left calf and Chicago’s starting small forward Luol Deng missed game 6 due to illness.
This will be the fourth Game 7 in franchise history for the Nets. The first two came in the 1970s ABA, when the franchise was known as the New York Nets. In their first franchise playoff appearance, the New York Nets lost to the Kentucy Colonels, 112-101, in Game 7 of the opening round of the 1970 ABA playoffs. Led by Julius Erving, the eventual 1976 ABA champion Nets defeated the San Antonio Spurs, 121-114, in game 7 of the ABA Semifinals.
This will be the second Game 7 for the Nets in the NBA. The first came in 2004 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Detroit Pistons. After defeating the Pistons, 127-120, on the road in triple overtime of Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead, the Jason Kidd led Nets lost Game 6 at home before being blown out 90-69 in Game 7 at Detroit.
Before the NBA switched to a best-of-seven format for the first round in 2003, the Nets played in two Game 5s of opening round best-of-5 series. In their first decisive NBA playoff game in 1993, the Nets lost 99-89 to the Cavs in Cleveland . The game would be the last in the career of Drazen Petrovic, as the burgeoning Nets star died in a car accident just a month later. In 2002, the Nets defeated the Indiana Pacers 120-109 in double overtime of a deciding game 5 in the first round en route to the first NBA finals appearance in franchise history.
For the Bulls, it is the tenth Game 7 in franchise history. The Bulls are a perfect 3-0 in Game 7’s at home, but 0-6 when the deciding game takes place outside Chicago. The Bulls last played a Game 7 in 2009, when they lost to the Boston Celtics in the first round. Led by 2008-09 Rookie of the Year Derrick Rose, the Bulls dropped the deciding Game 7, 109-99, in Boston. Rose has not played in the current series against the Nets, nor in any games in the 2012-13 season after tearing his ACL in the first round of the 2012 playoffs.