I said it in the last Thoughts, and I will say it again; at this point in the season, it really isn’t about the wins and losses. These last few games are really about making sure the guys who are going to be on the team next year (we know who they are by now) finish up on a positive note. Brook Lopez, Terrence Williams, Devin Harris, and Courtney Lee all had really good games last night, so even if the Nets’ would have lost against the Bulls, I would have been happy. With that being said, it sure did feel good watch the Nets play the role of the spoilers last night against the Bulls. A couple times in the second half (and in the overtimes), the Bulls looked like they flipped the switch, and each time I thought to myself “Welp, they were due for a run. I mean they are playing for something.” Each time, I was expecting the Bulls to pull away for good. However, the Nets fought back each and every time, and that was pretty cool to see. It couldn’t have been more evident in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter. The Nets had just let the lead slip out of their hands, but Derrick Rose missed a foul shot that kept the game within two. Instead of settling for a three, Courtney Lee attacked:
This aggressive move is what forced Brad Miller to help, and this help is what freed up Brook Lopez for the tip in dunk (which was definitely not goaltending). I couldn’t be happier for Brook on this play. He has been the Nets’ most consistent player (and the only player who has played in every single game this year) the entire year, so for him to finally have a moment like this made me feel good for him. You could tell that he was really excited, just by watching his reaction after the play.
The Nets again showed some resiliency in the first overtime. After quickly falling behind 7, the Nets fought all the way back to tie the game with 12 seconds left. The Bulls had the ball, and they put it in Derrick Rose’s hands. Rose had killed the Nets all night up until this point:
Courtney Lee, without help, cutoff Rose’s lane and forced him into a tough step-back jumper. The Nets then went into the second overtime and really took advantage of the Bulls’ fatigue.
Moving on, we need to look at Terrence Williams’ triple double. It is a great feat for a rookie (though it is the 4th time this year a rookie came away with a triple double), especially considering how far Terrence Williams has gone. Williams was tremendous throughout the game as he finished with 27 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists. You saw what kind of mismatches Williams can create in this game. The Bulls didn’t really know how to match up with him, they tried Luol Deng to match with Williams’ size. However, T-Will’s ballhandling ability and athleticism allowed him to get by Deng whenever he wanted.
Some more thoughts after the jump
- A lot is going to be made of the calls in the Nets’ favor. However in my opinion, there was only one really bad call. The one where Rose drove and got his hand grabbed by Lee. The ball went out off of Rose’s leg, and the Nets were awarded the ball. I would feel bad about this call if the Bulls didn’t miss all those foul shots to put themselves in that situation where that call effected so much.
- Yi had one of those plays where you think “damn he can really be a player!” He caught the ball on the baseline, took one dribble, and tried to dunk it on the entire Bulls’ roster. He drew the foul, getting himself to the line.
- Brad Miller almost won the game for the Bulls himself. He hit back-to-back threes, forced Terrence Williams into a bad turnover, and finished with the lay-up. If there was a MVP for the Bulls, it was Miller in my opinion (though Rose was great as well).
- You saw Kiki tighten up the bench (only gave 8 players 20-plus minutes) last night, and I think that was his way of saying, “we’re going for it.” He rode the hot hand, playing Terrence Williams the entire second half and overtime (except the final seconds).
- Thought it was pretty cool that Kiki took out T-Will with a few seconds left and the game in hand so he can be showed some love from the crowd (the crowd that was there, that is). A nice gesture from Kiki.