Heart and hustle to decide series between Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls

USA TODAY Sports

It's been rough-and-tumble under the baskets and out on the perimeter the first five games of the Nets-Bulls series and with a crucial Game 6 scheduled for the United Center, expect it to get worse ... or better, depending on your perspective of how basketball should be played.

"Frankly, I think Thibs and I both like it when the refs let us play," P.J. Carlesimo said in a conference call with beat writers Tuesday afternoon. "We both want to play that way. Will it be a physical game? Yes, I expect it to be extremely physical and I do expect the boards will be a major battle."

The Nets did well underneath on Monday night, with Brook Lopez and Andray Blatche dominating the Bulls frontcourt, particularly in the fourth quarter. They also ran, scoring 21 fast break points. It was also the second straight game the Nets scored 110 points or more against the Bulls vaunted defense: 111 in regulation during Saturday's triple overtime loss and 110 in Monday's win.

Carlesimo also said that he thought the Nets big game Monday disproves the accusation that the Nets are "gutless" and "heartless." He does admit the Nets are "hard to read."

"We’ve been, we’ve talked about it all year, we’re not an easy team to read," he told the writers. "We’ve had some real disappointments. We’ve had some nights where we were just listless and got whacked and didn’t look very good, and you say to yourself, ‘Boy how are they gonna come back from this?’ And then the very next day, we play a really good game. I think we’re the opposite of that."

He did show the team Joe Cowley's comments from halftime Saturday, but Carlesimo said he never lost faith in the team, never questioned the Nets heart.

Carlesimo said Blatche's calf is very sore about it was sore going into Game 5 and he expects he will play Thursday in Chicago. Meanwhile, in Chicago, no is saying whether Kirk Hinrich will play in Game 6 but the pressure for Derrick Rose to play is mounting.

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