NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, April 29th (All times Eastern)
(5) Chicago Bulls (3-1) at (4) Brooklyn Nets (1-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Bulls are one win away from advancing in the Eastern Conference playoffs and will have that chance Monday night in Brooklyn against the Nets.
The Bulls took a 3-1 series lead in a triple-overtime classic Saturday afternoon. Chicago prevailed, 142-134, in a game that will long be remembered for Nate Robinson's performance.
The diminutive guard caught fire in the fourth quarter. He scored 23 points in the fourth and sparked a 14-point comeback in the final 3:45 of regulation.
"I always think I'm on fire," said Robinson, who finished with 34 points in Game 4. "Like the old school game, 'NBA Jam.' You make a couple and the rim's on fire and when you shoot the ball, the ball's on fire. I feel like that at times."
He did in those 12 minutes. The 23 points is second in franchise history for points in a quarter in a playoff game. The record is 24 by none other than Michael Jordan.
Now, the undermanned Bulls, still playing without former MVP Derrick Rose, are one game from advancing to take on the defending champion Miami Heat in the Eastern semis.
Robinson wasn't the only one in a Bulls jersey to put forth a remarkable effort on Saturday.
Kirk Hinrich played a game-high 59:36 and tallied 18 points and 14 assists. He also held Brooklyn's Deron Williams to six points in the three overtime sessions.
"Exhausting, grueling," Hinrich said of the game.
Hinrich is questionable for Monday as he bruised his calf in Saturday's marathon win.
Joakim Noah, who missed most of the final month of the season with plantar fascitis, went almost 40 minutes on his bad foot and had 15 points and 13 rebounds.
"As the game goes on, you stop thinking about it and get caught up in the moment. It's bigger than your foot," said Noah.
Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng both logged more than 50 minutes and both scored in double figures. Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson cracked the 10-point mark.
For Brooklyn, Saturday's loss was devastating. To fail to even the series is one thing, but to blow a 14-point lead in less than four minutes is crushing.
"A great basketball game," said Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo. "Killer. We need to focus on Monday. We made some mistakes and had some tough calls go against us. We just have to focus ahead and not talk about things we could have done."
The Nets players logged heavy minutes as well. Williams was six seconds shy of 58 minutes, but recorded 32 points and 10 assists. Brook Lopez added 26 points and 11 boards, while Joe Johnson, also battling plantar fascitis, chipped in 22.
Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans and Andray Blatche all scored in double digits.
If the Nets prevail on Monday, Game 6 is slated for Thursday in Chicago.
04/29 10:46:34 ET