It all comes down to this. After a heartbreaking 3 overtime loss in game 4 in Chicago, the Brooklyn Nets need to win tonight to keep their season alive. Even though this season has not been a disappointment in the eyes of most people, a loss in the first round will be disappointing. The Nets were ahead by 14 points with just over 3 minutes remaining in regulation on Saturday and it looked like the series will be headed back to Brooklyn tied at 2. Instead the Nets are 48 minutes away from their season ending.
It’s hard to imagine the Nets feeling anything but stunned and lacking any confidence after losing game 4. Even though they said all the right things prior to game 4, none of it mattered and now they need to win 3 games in a row. That starts with picking up a win tonight at home, which will at the very least avoid the embarrassment of losing the series in Brooklyn.
The Nets do have a few advantages. Kirk Hinrich is suffering from a leg injury after playing so many minutes in game 4. The Bulls have not yet announced if he will play, but one player who sure hopes he does not is Deron Williams. Hinrich has somehow bothered Deron in each of the last 3 games. Also, Joakim Noah nearly doubled his minutes limit in game 4, playing nearly 40 minutes despite his supposed 20-25 minute limit. One would think that the amount of time he has played will have an effect on him, but after seeing the way he has played this series, who knows. For the Nets, Joe Johnson’s foot continues to bother him, but there is no chance he is missing this elimination game.
Along with these injuries, it will be interesting to see how both teams respond after all the minutes they played on Saturday. Deron Williams clearly was tired in the overtime periods, as his production completely fell off a cliff in the overtimes. Other players also played an excessive number of minutes on both teams, like Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Reggie Evans, Gerald Wallace, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, and others. The team that appears more rested will probably win this game.
Even though the Nets need a win tonight, I don’t think they will get it. This team played pretty well the last two games and was still unable to pick up a win. At this point, they are very tired, both mentally and physically, and despite a good crowd in Brooklyn, the Nets will lose again, ending their season on a 4-game losing streak. I predict they will lose the game 93-81, fading towards the end of the game.
This game will be televised on both My9 and TNT starting at 7 pm. Let’s go Nets!