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After many years, a chance to advance

Brooook-lyn, Brooook-lyn


The last time a Brooklyn team faced a seventh game was October 1956 when the Dodgers lost the World Series to the Yankees in 1956. And the last time the Nets faced a seventh game was in May 2004 when they lost to the Pistons in the second round. So it's been a while.

If the Nets do win, and fly out to Miami Sunday, it will be only the ninth time in NBA history that a team, down 3-1, won three straight to take the series. So it's been quite the turnaround. And it would the first playoff series P.J. Carlesimo has ever won.

Milestones and history aside, the Nets will have several advantages when they take the court, the biggest being health. Again, all 15 Nets are healthy and again, the Bulls roster is decimated. The Derrick Rose situation hasn't changed. Kirk Hinrich flew with the team to Brooklyn, his calf still giving him trouble Luol Deng remains doubtful after winding up in an ER Friday. He didn't take the team flight, but could, if cleared, fly in Saturday. Seems unlikely. Joakim Noah seems to be getting better and Nate Robinson is already better.

For the Nets to win on their homecourt, they will have to play what has become in this playoff series their game: move the ball, move the ball and dominate the paint. Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson need to lead, Gerald Wallace needs to continue his resurgence and Andray Blatche his heads-up play. They also have to keep the Bulls anemic offense in check. For the Bulls, it's more complicated. They could be without key players again and making rotations work won't be easy. Tom Thibodeau seems to have mastered it.

At Brooklyn Boro Hall, Beep Marty Markowitz issued a statement that would be good bulletin board material except that its succession of puns would prevent anyone from reading it till the end.

"Our Brooklyn Nets’ exciting win last night in the Windy City really ‘blew’ me away—and now we are coming back to Barclays Center for the most important game in Brooklyn Nets history!" Markowitz said in a prepared statement. "In Saturday night’s game seven, with the loudest, most in-your-face fans in the country ‘blacking out’ Brooklyn, there is no doubt the Nets are going to give the “flu-ey” Bulls the medicine they need—an early exit from the playoffs and a one-way ticket back to Chicago for some rest and relaxation.

"Bring on the Heat and watch out Lebron James, because after this series the Brooklyn Nets have ice in their veins and are coming to ‘cool’ you down.”

Game starts at 8 p.m. and will be on YES as well as TNT. Win and the Nets play again Monday in Miami. A win would also be a nice belated birthday present for Mikhail Prokhorov, who turned 48 Friday.