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Bulls, Nate Robinson defeat and deflate the Nets in triple-OT, 142-134, take a 3-1 series lead


It doesn't get more "must-win" than a road playoff game, with the Nets down 2-1 to the Chicago Bulls. Going home down 3-1 seems like an impossible hurdle, meaning, the Nets had to come out today and finally get something going on the offensive side of the ball -- something they were unable to do in the past two games. They entered Game 4 having shot 37 percent from the floor in their two losses.

There was plenty of offense in this game, but unfortunately for the Nets, not only did they get better on offense but so too did the Bulls. Chicago scored 58 points in the first half, on 58-percent shooting from the floor. It was without a doubt the best performance from this Bulls team on the offensive side of the ball in any of the first four games.

There was a nice second half run by the Nets -- and them buckling down on a defense a bit -- thanks in part to Reggie Evans and Gerald Wallace who finally came alive on the offensive side of the ball. But, even as Deron Williams and company elevated their offensive game -- Williams finished with 32 points in 58 minutes -- the Bulls were led by a heroic performance by Nate Robinson who scored 23 points in the fourth quarter and led the game to overtime.

In overtime, the Bulls had a two-point lead with 26.3 seconds to go. Joe Johnson went on to hit a mid-range jumper to tie the game with 11 seconds remaining. We're heading to overtime.

Again, it was Nate Robinson (34 points), who hit a miraculous bank shot with less than two seconds remaining in the game. This time, tough, Johnson responded, again, hitting a buzzer-beating floater to send the game into double overtime.

Wallace played 49 minutes with 17 points and six rebounds, before fouling out.

In double overtime, the Nets were tired. Really, really tired. Still, on will, Johnson and Lopez pushed the game to a late-game tie, forcing a third overtime.

Despite Robinson and Noah both having fouled out, the Nets had nothing left in them. They fell to the Bulls, 142-134.

This game never, ever should have gotten to overtime, which is the story here. The 4th quarter letdown was huge.

The series is now 3-1 Bulls. Starting Monday, Brooklyn has to win three straight or their season ends.

Game Flow

Game 4 was all about Brooklyn's offense, and well, Nate Robinson.

And unfortunately for Brooklyn, it didn't get off to a good start. They had three turnovers in the first three minutes of the game. They did try to establish Brook Lopez early, but the efficiency (1-of-4) and tempo wasn't there. Bulls were riding high early, really doing a great job of pressuring the Nets on both sides of the floor.

The Bulls zone defense was causing far too many fits for the Nets early. They finally settled in a bit toward the end of the quarter, pulling ahead at the end of the quarter, 26-25. Lopez had 12 points, four rebounds and two blocks. He came to play.

P.J. Carlesimo was hoping the bench, plus Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace, would be able to keep the Nets afloat as Lopez rested. What followed was a run, a 13-0 run to be exact -- 9-0 to start the third quarter. From there, Brooklyn tried to push the ball, upping the pace and forcing the Bulls to play on their heels, since once they get set in the half-court defense they're tough to penetrate.

Andray Blatche was the second quarter spark the Nets needed, scoring 11 points in eight minutes.

There was a brief scrum between Nate Robinson and C.J. Watson just as it seemed as if the Bulls were about to take off. A few strange -- and highly stupid -- minutes of basketball from Robinson that seemed to spark the Nets. They went on a quick 5-0 run after the scrum to pull within one.

An first half problem for the Nets was their transition defense. They allowed the Bulls to outscore them 18-2 in the fastbreak. It's atypical of the Bulls to get out and run as much, but the turnovers (10) in the first half by the Nets really helped that cause for Chicago.

Chicago scored 33 points in the second quarter and shot 58 percent from the floor in the first half. We keyed in on the offense in the game preview, but man the defense struggled (as much, to be fair, as the Bulls offense was playing out of their minds).

Kirk Hinrich had 13 points in the first half, while Jimmy Butler went for 12 of his own.

Williams had 15 for the Nets and Lopez scored 12 points, with all of his points coming in the first quarter.

At the half, the Bulls led 58-55.

Both Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans, the two players who have struggled most this series on the offensive side of the ball, woke up a little in the third quarter. They lead the charge as the Nets went on a 10-2 run to take a 2-point lead, 70-68, at the midway mark of the third quarter.

Later in the quarter, Wallace hurt his left leg after colliding with Joakim Noah. Thankfully, Wallace was able to stay in the game after trainer Tim Walsh gave his leg a look during a timeout.

Deron Williams had his game set to "superstar level," as he scored 24 points in the first three quarters and helped the Nets end the third with a 84-76 lead, after Lopez hit a desperation three at the buzzer.

Yes, the 84 points through three is the more points than they scored through four quarters in their two losses to the Bulls.

In the fourth, the Nets were riding their momentum early. Wallace hit another three, while Evans was active on both sides of the ball. It was winning basketball, and a much-needed turnaround from their poor performances in Games 2 and 3.

At the 6-minute mark, the Nets hit 100 points. Almost impossible to believe after the last two games.

Nate Robinson tried to play "hero ball" at the end of the game, pulling the Bulls to within two points with just over one minute to play. All by himself, Robinson went on a 12-0 run. He then hit Boozer for a layup and a tied ballgame.

Lopez then went on to hit two free throws, which was followed by a Noah put-back to tie the game with 24 seconds remaining. Tie ballgame, yes, but Williams missed a fall-away jumper at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

In overtime, the Bulls had a two-point lead with 26 seconds to go after Carlos Boozer hit a layup. It was hard to imagine that this game could possibly slip away from the Nets. Johnson responded to Boozer with a mid-range jumper to tie the game with 11 seconds to play.

Nate Robinson, though, hit a bank shot with two seconds remaining. Nothing left to do, right? Nope. Joe Johnson hit a buzzer-beating floater to send the game into double overtime.

In double-OT, it was once again Nate Robinson -- coupled with the tired legs of the Nets -- that nearly did Brooklyn in. Robinson, though, fouled out in the final minute of the game, while Johnson and Lopez pushed what little they had in them to force the game into a triple-overtime.

Noah fouled out in the third overtime, after hitting a go-ahead jumper. From there, the Bulls went on a 5-1 run. The Nets were just so tired. Too tired.

It never should have gotten to this point, but when it did, the Nets didn't have enough in them to overtake the Bulls.

Final: Bulls 142, Nets 134 in 3OT.

For more on the Bulls, see: Blog a Bull