The Brooklyn Nets attempt to come-back from a 16-point 4th quarter deficit ultimately fell short as the Chicago Bulls hung on to take a 2-1 series lead by winning Game 3 79-76.
The Bulls led the Nets 70-54 with 8:57 seconds left, but over the next 8 plus minutes, Brooklyn went on a 22-8 run to cut the lead to 2 with 4 seconds left. After Deron Williams made a lay-up to cut the lead to 2, the Bulls inbounded the ball to Joakim Noah, a 75 percent free throw shooter. Noah missed the first free throw, then made the 2nd to give Chicago a three point lead.
The Nets had one final chance to tie the game at the end of regulation, but former Bull CJ Watson’s game-tying 3 at the buzzer was off, and the Bulls got the win.
The game couldn’t have started any better for the Nets, who held a 17-5 lead over the first 6 and a half minutes. The Bulls responded with a 16-0 run to take a 21-17 lead to begin the 2nd quarter. Brooklyn didn’t regain their form until late in the 4th quarter, but by then, it was too late. For the 2nd straight game the Nets shot just 35% from the field. Brooklyn hasn’t been able to find their shot since game 1 when they shot 55 percent. The Bulls were slightly better shooting 39% from the field.
Carlos Boozer was the player of the game for Chicago. Boozer scored a game high 22 points on 9/15 shooting to go along with 16 rebounds, also a game high. Luol Deng’s play has also been a major factor for Chicago. Deng continued his hot play following a poor game 1 performance with 21 points and 10 rebounds, out-dueling Gerald Wallace who scored 5 points on just 2/8 shooting. One player that really struggled for the Bulls was Joakim Noah who clearly wasn’t himself. Noah finished 0-7 from the field in 27 minutes of action, but did hit a clutch free-throw late to give Chicago a 3-point lead.
For the Nets, Brook Lopez had a very solid game. Lopez recorded 7 blocks to go with a team high 22 points. Deron Williams added 18 points, and Joe Johnson had 15.
Game 4 is set for Saturday at 2:00pm from the United Center. It’s a must win for the Nets, who can’t afford to fall behind 3-1 to a tough Bulls team.