The injury ridden Bulls have bounced Brooklyn from the playoffs.
The third time’s always a charm, was a charm for the Chicago Bulls who eliminated the Brooklyn Nets by winning game 7 99-93. The Bulls led 3 games to 1 after 4 games, but the Nets rallied winning two straight before falling flat in game 7.
The Bulls were once again without 2 of their starters. Kirk Hinrich missed the game with a calf injury, and Luol Deng missed the game with an illness. In Deng’s place, Marco Belinelli filled in admirably scoring 24 points, and helped seal the game late with four free-throws.
The star of the game however, was Joakim Noah. Noah scored a game-high 24 points on 12/17 shooting to go along with a game high 14 rebounds and 6 blocks. He guaranteed the Bulls would win, and boy did Noah back up his words playing relentlessly for 41 minutes while dealing with plantar fascists.
Joe Johnson was also dealing with plantar fascists and was a complete no show in game 7. Johnson shot just 2/14 from the field, and was a dismal 1/9 from 3 finishing with 6 points. He finished with more turnovers than shots made. Johnson is sure to face a lot of criticism following his performance with his maximum salary.
The Bulls, behind a dominant first half performance led by 17 at halftime. The Nets cut the Bulls lead to 7 heading into the fourth, but the closest the Nets would get was 4 points, but with only 26 seconds remaining.
The future of the Brooklyn Nets isn’t very clear. The team isn’t sure if head coach PJ Carlisimo will be back after taking over following the firing of Avery Johnson in December. Jeff Van Gundy is a name to watch for Brooklyn.
The Bulls on the other hand now await an Eastern Conference Semi-Finals matchup with league MVP LeBron James and the Miami Heat. That series is set to kick off Monday night from American Airlines Arena.
Follow the writer of this story on twitter @lucasfrankel